dominium (d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m), n. [fr. Latin dominus “lord”]

1. Roman & civil law. Absolute ownership including the right to possession and use; a right of control over property that the holder might retain or transfer at pleasure. • Dominium was subject to any servitudes, planning restrictions, etc. This term gradually came to also mean merely ownership of property, as distinguished from the right to possession or use.

“Dominium is the Roman term for the rights of an owner against all the world: and the contrast of dominium and obligatio is the nearest approach that can be made, in classical Roman language, to the distinction marked by the modern terms in rem and in personam.” Frederick Pollock, A First Book of Jurisprudence 83 (1896).

“The one word dominium has to assume so many shades of meaning. The tenant qui tenet terram in dominio, is dominus rei and has dominium rei; but then he has above him one who is his dominus, and for the rights of this lord over him and over his land there is no other name than dominium.” 2 Frederick Pollock & Frederic W. Maitland, The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I 4 (2d ed. 1899).

dominium directum (d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m di-rek-t[schwa]m), n. [Law Latin]

1. Civil law. Legal, not equitable, ownership.

2. Feudal law. The right of the superior of land over a tenant.

dominium directum et utile (d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m di-rek-t[schwa]m et yoo-t[schwa]-lee), n. [Law Latin] Civil law. Complete ownership of property, including both title and exclusive use.

dominium eminens (d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m em-[schwa]-nenz), n. [Law Latin] Civil law. Eminent domain. See EMINENT DOMAIN.

dominium ex jure quiritium (d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m eks joor-ee kwI-rish-ee-[schwa]m).Roman law. Ownership exercised by Roman citizens in the most complete manner (pleno jure), the property being domestic (not foreign) and having been acquired according to all the forms of law.

— Also termed dominium quiritarium; dominium legitimum.

dominium legitimum (l[schwa]-jit-i-m[schwa]m). See dominium ex jure quiritium.

dominium plenum (d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m plee-n[schwa]m), n. [Law Latin] Civil law. Full ownership combining dominium directum and dominium utile.

— Also termed plenum dominium.

dominium quiritarium (d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m kwI-r[schwa]-tair-ee-[ schwa]m). See dominium ex jure quiritium.

dominium utile (d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m yoo-t[schwa]-lee), n. [Law Latin] Civil law. Equitable ownership; a beneficial right to use property; the right of a tenant to use the soil and its profits.

“The special characteristic of Feudal land was that ownership in it was split into two kinds, the dominium directum of the superior (lord) and the dominium utile of the vassal. The feudists correctly insisted that this was not a form of joint ownership, not yet of ownership burdened with an easement or a ‘usufruct,’ but that two kinds of ownership were present, and that each of these persons, the lord and the vassal, was properly called ‘owner’ or dominus. The lord’s dominium directum gave him a reversion in the case of forfeiture of failure of issue and the enjoyment of whatever the naturalia and accidentalia were. The vassal’s dominium utile gave him the immediate enjoyment of the land itself.” Max Radin, Handbook of Anglo-American Legal History 148 (1936).

nudum dominium (n[y]oo-d[schwa]m d[schwa]-min-ee-[schwa]m). [Latin “bare ownership”] Roman law. Ownership divorced from present possession or use.

plenum dominium. See dominium plenum.

2. Hist. Lordship; sovereignty.“The Latin word for ownership, dominium, is particularly confusing, since in medieval times it is also the word for lordship.” J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History 255 (3d ed. 1990).