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What Does "Et Ux" Mean?

Leigia Rosales
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The term "et ux" signifies a time in property ownership history when women's rights were starkly limited. This Latin term, short for "et uxor," meaning "and wife," was commonly used in deeds and tax records when referring to a husband's property, implicitly including his spouse without granting her the recognition of a proper name. 

It wasn't until the Married Women's Property Acts in the 19th century that women began to gain legal autonomy over property and finances. Understanding what does et ux mean provides insight into the historical context of women's property rights and the evolution of legal terminology in reflecting societal changes.

Although not all countries throughout the world recognize a woman's right to own property, the United States certainly does. The modern day equivalent of et ux is property held as tenants by the entirety or joint tenants. A tenancy by the entirety is the closest match to the use of et ux, as it requires the two people who will hold title to the property to be married. Of course, a tenancy by the entirety is simply a legal status. The actual deed will have the proper names of both the husband and wife.

A joint tenancy is similar to a tenancy by the entirety, although the two people who will hold title to the property are not required to be married. This may be considered the final evolution from the Latin et ux, as a woman may hold title to a property along with a man without even being married to him. Both a tenancy by the entirety and a joint tenancy allow for rights of survivorship, meaning that, upon the death of one owner, the other owner will automatically inherit the decedent's share of the property.

Of course, a woman may also hold title to a property alone, without a man included on the title. Within the United States, women have absolute equal rights to own, sell, gift, or devise property. Many states are also community property states, meaning that a woman is entitled to half of the marital property when the couple divorces regardless of who earned the money to buy the property or how the property was acquired.

Many words used for legal descriptions or phrases come from Latin, as many of the concepts and ideas for modern day legal systems date back to ancient Rome. Other examples of common words still used in legal terminology include mens rea — guilty mind, corpus delecti — body of crime, and pro bono — for the public good. Although the Latin terms and phrases are still used today in many legal systems, much has changed in the law since they were first used.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Leigia Rosales
By Leigia Rosales
Leigia Rosales is a former attorney turned freelance writer. With a law degree and a background in legal practice, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers. Her ability to understand complex topics and communicate them effectively makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By sweetypie973 — On Apr 14, 2014

When a parent dies, leaving a home to the daughter as beneficiary and the home was transferred to another beneficiary's name and the general warranty deeds home to her brother from the same mother and he dies, does the home still need probating to his heir, as part of that same family trust the mother left ?

Leigia Rosales
Leigia Rosales
Leigia Rosales is a former attorney turned freelance writer. With a law degree and a background in legal practice, she...
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