What is the act of making something ownerless?

All I've seen is to "declare something ownerless".

However, in this statement one isn't so much as announcing as he is transferring something property. Moreover, if one wants to discuss his act of transferring, it wouldn't make sense to use the word "declare" (i.e "his declaration of making this item ownerless was ineffective" sounds like a mouthful).

  • Both Monica Cello's and Gnawme's answers are good for the idea of giving up a claim that you have. But neither addresses the idea of asserting that property that you never had a claim to is, in fact, ownerless. This might mean challenging someone else's claim, or someone in authority, a judge, for example, declaring that there is no valid ownership on record. I'm not sure which the poster is looking for and if the latter, I don't have an answer, just pointing out that the existing answers may be incomplete. – Jay Jan 25 '12 at 21:52
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    Perhaps "disown" is the word you're looking for? – George Edison Jan 25 '12 at 22:21
  • @jay The question is about property that you did own but you know want to ?disown?. – Shmuel Brin Jan 25 '12 at 22:57

A word that says it all is renounce:

renounce, verb : to announce one's abandonment of the ownership of : give up, abandon, or resign usually formally (something possessed) [MW]

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You can abandon something (or your claim on something) or release something into the public domain (moreso with IP than physical items).

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Slaves can be freed by their "owners."

verb ( frees |friz|, freed |frid|, freeing |friɪŋ|) [ trans. ] make free, in particular

• from captivity, confinement, or slavery : they were freed from jail.

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    And emancipate is a more legalistic word for this. – Peter Shor Jan 26 '12 at 16:43

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