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[pruh-prahy-i-tee] /prəˈpraɪ ɪ ti/
noun, plural proprieties.
conformity to established standards of good or proper behavior or manners.
appropriateness to the purpose or circumstances; suitability.
rightness or justness.
the proprieties, the conventional standards of proper behavior; manners:
to observe the proprieties.
Obsolete. a property.
Obsolete. a peculiarity or characteristic of something.
Origin of propriety
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English propriete ownership, something owned, one's own nature (compare variant proprete property) < Middle French propriété < Latin proprietās peculiarity, ownership, equivalent to propri(us) proper + -etās, variant, after vowels, of -itās -ity
Related forms
nonpropriety, noun, plural nonproprieties.
Can be confused
probity, propriety.
1. decency, modesty. See etiquette. 2. aptness, fitness, seemliness. 3. correctness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for propriety
  • By then a raucous debate over the propriety of reporting on candidates' personal lives had already begun.
  • Acquired notions of propriety are stronger than natural instincts.
  • And this species may with propriety be called the cutting off of infinity.
  • propriety and understatement characterize the quiet enclave bordering midtown.
  • If an item of depreciation raises a question of propriety, develop further.
  • Must be able to integrate propriety software with network software.
  • Animals do not have the sense of cleanliness or propriety that humans do.
  • Ethical propriety of listings by lawyers and law firms in out-of-town telephone directories.
  • Review all voids for propriety and regulation compliance.
British Dictionary definitions for propriety


noun (pl) -ties
the quality or state of being appropriate or fitting
conformity to the prevailing standard of behaviour, speech, etc
(pl) the proprieties, the standards of behaviour considered correct by polite society
Word Origin
C15: from Old French propriété, from Latin proprietās a peculiarity, from proprius one's own
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 propriety

mid-15c., "proper character, disposition," from Old French proprieté "individuality, peculiarity; property" (12c.), from Latin proprietatem (nominative proprietas) "appropriateness," also "ownership" (see property). Meaning "fitness, appropriateness" is attested from 1610s; sense of "conformity to good manners" is from 1782.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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