This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.
usucaption n. The acquisition of property by right of long possession and enjoyment. Thus, in the average household, the bathroom is considered under common law to be owned, by right of usucaption, by the youngest adult, and the telephone by the oldest child.
Usucaption is a concept found in civil law systems and has its origin in the Roman law of property.
Put simply, usucaption is a method by which ownership of property can be gained by lapse of time. While usucaption has been compared with adverse possession (i.e. squatting), the true effect of Usucaption is to remedy defects in title.
The necessity for Usucaption arose in Roman law with the divide between res mancipi and res nec mancipi. Res mancipi required elaborate and inconvenient methods to transfer title. Res nec manicipi could be transferred by traditio (delivery).
If res mancipi were transferred by traditio, full ownership would not pass and the recipient would become a Bonitary Owner. However, if the bonitary owner kept the res in his possession for a certain amount of time (2 years for land, 1 year for chattels) his title would become full title and he could assert himself as dominus.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usucaption"