In contracts what exactly is meant by the words (both collectively and individually) "right, title and interest"?

Example from Docracy

Assignor exclusively owns all right, title, and interest in and to the Assigned Property

Another example from Docracy

The Recipient agrees to assign to the Company, or its designee, all right, title, and interest in and to any and all inventions

I tried reading the article https://www.adamsdrafting.com/right-title-and-interest/ but found it hard to understand. I just got that some of the words are repetitive. (out of curiosity is adamsdrafting a reputable source?)

  • Repetitive words is standard in legal writing because sometimes courts are looking for a particular buzz word and you can't know what that will be in advance.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 28, 2019 at 22:29

3 Answers 3



In the sense that it means every single legal claim that a person could or might have over or in the thing.

Specifically, ”right” means a legal right that can arise in all sorts of ways, ”title” means legal ownership and ”interest” means both of the above plus anything else that may be related to the thing no matter how remote or esoteric.

  • So hypothetically "interest" includes right and title? Aug 29, 2019 at 5:43
  • @justasking111 Not necessarily. An "interest" is an ownership or property right in some asset. A "right" could include, for example, a right to vote in an HOA election or a right to use an easement that isn't particular to ownership or property right even if it could be acquired by virtue of having an ownership or property right (e.g. maybe residents without leases or property ownership can still vote in HOA elections and use the easements under the HOA bylaws). Most of the terms have multiple not perfectly consistent definitions because they have been used for hundreds of years.
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 30, 2019 at 20:39
  • Nitpick: is it more correct to have plural or singular, "right" vs "rights"? Apr 29, 2020 at 13:29

"Title" means ownership. But ownership can be "encumbered," for example, by a tenant with a lease, which is an "interest," something which is less than full ownership but which is legally enforceable and usually recorded if it has to do with real estate. "Interests" include those established in probated wills and in trusts, those established in mortgages and judgment liens,and those established in recorded easements. "Rights" is a hodge-podge term that applies to everything else. It can include contractor liens, homestead interests, prescriptive easements (common-law easements), the rights of neighbors under restrictive covenants, and many other things. Dale is right. The phrase is an ancient colorful legal term of art that means "everything imaginable."


The phrase "right, title and interest" is an example of what is known as a "legal triplet'. These ad the closely related "legal doublets" are described in the Wikipedia article as:

a standardized phrase used frequently in English legal language consisting of two or more words that are near synonyms, usually connected by "and", and in standard orders, such as "cease and desist".

The doubling—and sometimes even tripling—often originates in the transition from use of one language for legal purposes to another: in Britain, from a native English term to a Latin or Law French term; in Romance-speaking countries, from Latin to the vernacular. To ensure understanding, the terms from both languages were used. ...

In other cases, the two components have differences which are subtle, appreciable only to lawyers, or obsolete. ... Doublets may also have arisen or persisted because the solicitors and clerks who drew up conveyances and other documents were paid by the word, which tended to encourage verbosity.

Charles Rembar in his book The Law of the Land advances the explanation that triplets in UK and US law originally represented one term from English roots, one from Latin, and one from Norman French. He cites "give, devise, and bequeath" and "promise and covenant" as examples. The Wikipedia article gives more than 60 examples of doublets and more than a dozen triplets, including:

  • convey, transfer and set over
  • null, void and of no effect
  • ordered, adjudged and decreed
  • rest, residue and remainder
  • signed, sealed, and delivered

In some cases there is no significant difference in meaning among the elements of a triplet or doublet, as with "cease and desist". In others there is a difference, but it is now largely obsolete, as with "signed, sealed, and delivered". In yet others , the difference remains of at least some legal significance, as with "sell, transfer, or hypothecate".

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