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noun pro·pri·e·ty \prə-ˈprī-ə-tē\

Simple Definition of propriety

  • : behavior that is accepted as socially or morally correct and proper

  • : the state or quality of being correct and proper

  • proprieties : rules of correct social behavior

Full Definition of propriety

plural pro·pri·e·ties

  1. 1 obsolete :  true nature

  2. 2 obsolete :  a special characteristic :  peculiarity

  3. 3 :  the quality or state of being proper or suitable :  appropriateness

  4. 4 a :  conformity to what is socially acceptable in conduct or speech b :  fear of offending against conventional rules of behavior especially between the sexes c plural :  the customs and manners of polite society

Examples of propriety

  1. If Madison felt the same annoyance with the dissenters, his prim sense of political propriety forbade him from stooping to personal attacks. —Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings …, 1996

  2. His austere and basically humble personality imposes a curious damp propriety upon his memorial. —John Updike, New Yorker, 1 July 1991

  3. In contemporary America the appearance of prosperity is all too often taken as a sign of propriety. —Jack Beatty, Atlantic, December 1989

  4. She conducted herself with propriety.

  5. They debated the propriety of the punishment that he was given.

  6. When attending a wedding, there are certain proprieties that must be observed.

Origin of propriety

Middle English propriete, from Anglo-French proprieté, propreté property, quality of a person or thing — more at property

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with propriety

PROPRIETY Defined for Kids


noun pro·pri·ety \prə-ˈprī-ə-tē\

Definition of propriety

plural pro·pri·eties

  1. 1 :  correctness in manners or behavior <He went beyond the bounds of propriety.>

  2. 2 :  the quality or state of being proper

  3. 3 proprieties plural :  the rules of correct behavior <the proprieties of weddings>

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February 9, 2016

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