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verb ap·pro·pri·ate \ə-ˈprō-prē-ˌāt\

Simple Definition of appropriate

  • : to get or save (money) for a specific use or purpose

  • : to take or use (something) especially in a way that is illegal, unfair, etc.

Full Definition of appropriate


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to take exclusive possession of :  annex <no one should appropriate a common benefit>

  3. 2 :  to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use <appropriate money for the research program>

  4. 3 :  to take or make use of without authority or right

ap·pro·pri·a·ble play \-prē-ə-bəl\ adjective
ap·pro·pri·a·tor play \-prē-ˌā-tər\ noun

Examples of appropriate

  1. From this source it was appropriated by Wilhelm Ropke in his effort to develop a social and political theory in which the market economy would be reconciled with the local community. —Roger Scruton, National Review, 20 June 2005

  2. Dr. Seuss's mother, also the daughter of German immigrants, was Henrietta Seuss, and when he appropriated the name for his books Dr. Seuss pronounced it in the German manner, “soice,” until he realized that Americans naturally read the name as “soose,” and that the American pronunciation of “Dr. Seuss” evoked a figure advantageous for an author of children's books to be associated with—Mother Goose. —Louis Menand, New Yorker, 23 & 30 Dec. 2002

  3. Wales, in contrast, was officially appropriated into the United Kingdom by Henry VIII's Acts of Union, in 1536 and 1543, before it had developed the apparatus of a modern state. —Pamela Petro, Atlantic, April 1999

  4. The town has appropriated funds to repair the bridge and work should begin this summer.

  5. The economy has been weakened by corrupt officials who have appropriated the country's resources for their own use.

  6. Elements of the design were appropriated from other architects.

  7. The term bad has been appropriated by teenagers as a synonym for good.

Origin of appropriate

Middle English, from Late Latin appropriatus, past participle of appropriare, from Latin ad- + proprius own

First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with appropriate

abbreviate, abominate, accelerate, accentuate, accommodate, acculturate, accumulate, adjudicate, adulterate, affiliate, agglomerate, alienate, alleviate, alliterate, amalgamate, ameliorate, amyl nitrate, annihilate, annunciate, anticipate, apostolate, appreciate, approximate, arpeggiate, articulate, asphyxiate, assassinate, asseverate, assimilate, associate, at any rate, attenuate, authenticate, barbiturate, bicarbonate, calumniate, capacitate, capitulate, catholicate, certificate, coagulate, coelenterate, collaborate, commemorate, commiserate, communicate, compassionate, concatenate, conciliate, confabulate, confederate, conglomerate, congratulate, consolidate, contaminate, cooperate, coordinate, corroborate, deactivate, debilitate, decapitate, decelerate, decerebrate, deconcentrate, deconsecrate, decorticate, decrepitate, de-escalate, defibrinate, defoliate, degenerate, deliberate, delineate, demodulate, denominate, depopulate, depreciate, deracinate, deregulate, desegregate, desiderate, detoxicate, devaluate, diaconate, dilapidate, discriminate, disintegrate, disseminate, dissimulate, dissociate, domesticate, effectuate, ejaculate, elaborate, electroplate, eliminate, elucidate, emaciate, emancipate, emasculate, encapsulate, enumerate, enunciate, episcopate, equivocate, eradicate, etiolate, evacuate, evaluate, evaporate, eventuate, eviscerate, exacerbate, exaggerate, exasperate, excited state, excogitate, excoriate, exfoliate, exhilarate, exonerate, expatiate, expatriate, expectorate, expostulate, expropriate, extenuate, exterminate, extrapolate, facilitate, felicitate, fish or cut bait, garrison state, gesticulate, habilitate, habituate, hallucinate, humiliate, hydrogenate, hypothecate, illuminate, impersonate, inactivate, inaugurate, incarcerate, incinerate, incorporate, incriminate, indoctrinate, inebriate, infatuate, infuriate, ingratiate, ingurgitate, initiate, inoculate, inseminate, insinuate, instantiate, intercalate, interpolate, interrelate, interrogate, intimidate, intoxicate, invalidate, investigate, invigorate, irradiate, Italianate, Korea Strait, lanceolate, legitimate, luxuriate, mandarinate, manipulate, matriarchate, matriculate, Merthiolate, necessitate, negotiate, noncandidate, obliterate, officiate, Orange Free State, orientate, originate, oxygenate, participate, particulate, patriarchate, patriciate, perambulate, peregrinate, perpetuate, pontificate, precipitate, predestinate, predominate, prefabricate, premeditate, preponderate, prevaricate, procrastinate, prognosticate, proliferate, propitiate, proportionate, quadruplicate, quintuplicate, reciprocate, recriminate, recuperate, redecorate, reduplicate, reeducate, refrigerate, regenerate, regurgitate, reincarnate, reintegrate, reiterate, rejuvenate, remunerate, repatriate, repudiate, resuscitate, retaliate, reticulate, revaluate, reverberate, scholasticate, second estate, self-flagellate, self-immolate, self-pollinate, seventy-eight, sextuplicate, Singapore Strait, sophisticate, subordinate, substantiate, syllabicate, tergiversate, transliterate, triangulate, vanity plate, variegate, vaticinate, vituperate, vociferate



adjective ap·pro·pri·ate \ə-ˈprō-prē-ət\

Simple Definition of appropriate

  • : right or suited for some purpose or situation

Full Definition of appropriate

  1. :  especially suitable or compatible :  fitting <an appropriate response> <remarks appropriate to the occasion>

ap·pro·pri·ate·ly adverb
ap·pro·pri·ate·ness noun

Examples of appropriate

  1. More than almost anyone writing today, Slater, whose prose is astringent and sensuous by turn, reflects both a genuine feeling for and appreciation of foods appropriate to the season—and a tolerance for kitchen disasters. —Cynthia Zarin, Gourmet, April 2007

  2. Crepuscular means “pertaining to twilight.” It sounds so lovely. I use the word as much as possible, even when it's not appropriate. —Bob Berman, Astronomy, June 2006

  3. While working as one of the exhibition curators, I was surprised to learn that, until the 1920s, ice cream was properly eaten with a fork, a cumbersome technique decried by none other than Florence Howe hall, the granddaughter of Julia Ward Howe, who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. But if high society eventually agreed on a more appropriate utensil for eating the frozen-dessert, even the most au courant hostess may have had trouble deciding what kind of device should be used for serving it … —Darra Goldstein, Saveur, June-July 2006

  4. Three days. There was no way on this earth that proper due diligence could be done in such a limited time. For a merger of this magnitude, a week's worth of due diligence would have been more appropriate. —Nina Munk, Vanity Fair, January 2004

  5. Red wine would have been a more appropriate choice with the meal.

  6. The movie is perfectly appropriate to people of all ages.

Origin of appropriate

(see 1appropriate)

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of appropriate

fit, suitable, meet, proper, appropriate, fitting, apt, happy, felicitous mean right with respect to some end, need, use, or circumstance. fit stresses adaptability and sometimes special readiness for use or action <fit for battle>. suitable implies an answering to requirements or demands <clothes suitable for camping>. meet suggests a just proportioning <meet payment>. proper suggests a suitability through essential nature or accordance with custom <proper acknowledgement>. appropriate implies eminent or distinctive fitness <an appropriate gift>. fitting implies harmony of mood or tone <a fitting end>. apt connotes a fitness marked by nicety and discrimination <apt quotations>. happy suggests what is effectively or successfully appropriate <a happy choice of words>. felicitous suggests an aptness that is opportune, telling, or graceful <a felicitous phrase>.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up appropriate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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