Before women were allowed to own property in their own right or have equal rights to property owned by their husband, a deed or tax record often referred to property as being owned by the husband "et ux." Et ux is an abbreviation for the Latin word et uxor, which literally translated means "and wife." Although the wife may technically have been included on the deed, she was considered so insignificant that a proper name was not required.
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.