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[prop-uh-zish-uh n] /ˌprɒp əˈzɪʃ ən/
the act of offering or suggesting something to be considered, accepted, adopted, or done.
a plan or scheme proposed.
an offer of terms for a transaction, as in business.
a thing, matter, or person considered as something to be dealt with or encountered:
Keeping diplomatic channels open is a serious proposition.
anything stated or affirmed for discussion or illustration.
Rhetoric. a statement of the subject of an argument or a discourse, or of the course of action or essential idea to be advocated.
Logic. a statement in which something is affirmed or denied, so that it can therefore be significantly characterized as either true or false.
Mathematics. a formal statement of either a truth to be demonstrated or an operation to be performed; a theorem or a problem.
a proposal of usually illicit sexual relations.
verb (used with object)
to propose sexual relations to.
to propose a plan, deal, etc., to.
Origin of proposition
1300-50; Middle English proposicio(u)n < Latin prōpositiōn- (stem of prōpositiō) a setting forth. See propositus, -ion
Related forms
propositional, adjective
propositionally, adverb
underproposition, noun
Can be confused
preposition, proposition (see usage note at preposition)
2. See proposal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for proposition
  • Excavating there would require tunneling into cliffs-a dangerous proposition-with no guarantee of finding anything.
  • The failure to distinguish between argumentation and opinion made reasoning with this student a hopeless proposition.
  • That's a labor-intensive proposition, one that has changed the dynamics of admissions work on the campus.
  • But, this doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition.
  • How about this proposition: publish anything at all, online, in science blogs.
  • Yet the book can be read as a long argument-a seven-hundred-page-long argument-for this last proposition.
  • Health insurance is limited in what it covers and far from universal, so getting sick can be a costly proposition.
  • But it wasn't until recently that, owing to advances in drilling technology, extracting the gas became a lucrative proposition.
  • Propping up power is, generally, a less dodgy proposition than defying it.
  • But, as a proposition under scrutiny, it makes intolerable demands on logic.
British Dictionary definitions for proposition


a proposal or topic presented for consideration
  1. the content of a sentence that affirms or denies something and is capable of being true or false
  2. the meaning of such a sentence: I am warm always expresses the same proposition whoever the speaker is Compare statement (sense 8)
(maths) a statement or theorem, usually containing its proof
(informal) a person or matter to be dealt with: he's a difficult proposition
an invitation to engage in sexual intercourse
(transitive) to propose a plan, deal, etc, to, esp to engage in sexual intercourse
Derived Forms
propositional, adjective
propositionally, adverb
Word Origin
C14 proposicioun, from Latin prōpositiō a setting forth; see propose
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for proposition

mid-14c., "a setting forth as a topic for discussion," from Old French proposicion "proposal, submission, (philosophical) proposition" (12c.), from Latin propositionem (nominative propositio) "a setting forth, statement, a presentation, representation; fundamental assumption," noun of action from past participle stem of proponere (see propound). Meaning "action of proposing something to be done" is from late 14c. General sense of "matter, problem, undertaking" recorded by 1877. Related: Propositional.


1914, from proposition (n.); specifically of sexual favors from 1936. Related: Propositioned; propositioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for proposition



An invitation or request for sexual favors; pass: He made a rude proposition and got his ears pinned back


To request sexual favors; COME ON TO someone, MAKE A PASS AT someone: He propositioned every woman at the party

[1924+; defined as ''a proposal of marriage'' in a 1908 source]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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proposition in Technology

A statement in propositional logic which may be either true or false. Each proposition is typically represented by a letter in a formula such as "p => q", meaning proposition p implies proposition q.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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