appropriate

adjective
ap·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ə-ˈprō-prē-ət How to pronounce appropriate (audio) \

Definition of appropriate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: especially suitable or compatible : fitting an appropriate response remarks appropriate to the occasion

appropriate

verb
ap·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ə-ˈprō-prē-ˌāt How to pronounce appropriate (audio) \
appropriated; appropriating

Definition of appropriate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to take exclusive possession of : annex No one should appropriate a common benefit.
2 : to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use appropriate money for a research program
3 : to take or make use of without authority or right natural habitats that have been appropriated for human use

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from appropriate

Adjective

appropriately adverb
appropriateness noun

Verb

appropriable \ -​prē-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce appropriable (audio) \ adjective
appropriator \ -​prē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce appropriator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for appropriate

Adjective

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

Did You Know?

From its roots, the verb appropriate would mean basically "make one's own"—that is, "take", or sometimes "grab". Each year the President and Congress create a budget and appropriate funds for each item in it, funds which mostly come in the form of taxes from the public. In the House of Representatives, the powerful Appropriations Committee often gets the last word on how much money goes to each program. "Misappropriation of funds", on the other hand, is a nice way of saying "theft". If someone appropriated pieces of your novel, you might take him or her to court; and if you appropriated trade secrets from your former employers, you might be the one sued.

Examples of appropriate in a Sentence

Adjective

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 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 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 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 Red wine would have been a more appropriate choice with the meal. The movie is perfectly appropriate to people of all ages.

Verb

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 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 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 The town has appropriated funds to repair the bridge and work should begin this summer. The economy has been weakened by corrupt officials who have appropriated the country's resources for their own use. Elements of the design were appropriated from other architects. The term “bad” has been appropriated by teenagers as a synonym for “good.”
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Hearings will be scheduled to determine the appropriate forum. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Analyzing the $100 Million Lawsuit Against Zion Williamson and CAA," 20 June 2019 If that's done, your withholding would only be based on the standard deduction that applies to your filing status and the appropriate tax rates. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "New, confusing W-4 form is coming for 2020: What to do now to get bigger tax refund," 19 June 2019 The former President has been described as a martyr, but the term isn’t exactly appropriate. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, "Mohamed Morsi, Who Brought the Muslim Brotherhood to the Egyptian Presidency," 19 June 2019 Your owner’s manual should outline appropriate recovery points on your specific car or truck. Chris O'neill, Outside Online, "The 4 Ways to Get Your Vehicle Unstuck," 18 June 2019 The idea for our paper cocktail napkins came from one of our customers who couldn’t find any appropriate napkins for her book club—thank you! The Reader's Catalog, "Booklover's Cocktail Napkins," 17 June 2019 The ordinance committed the city to using the practices that were the most environmentally appropriate and were the least invasive. Caille Millner, SFChronicle.com, "SF’s cutest employees munch down fire hazards," 14 June 2019 Unfortunately, Venera-D has not yet been selected, and many scientists have expressed some concern over the fact that it has long been discussed and yet still does not have the appropriate funding. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Venus, Earth’s Evil Twin, Beckons Space Agencies," 12 June 2019 Enforcement of the Earned Sick and Safe Time ordinance is a high priority for the city of St. Paul and the allegations contained in the complaint are concerning and, if true, warrant appropriate action. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "How a big paycheck led a high school lifeguard to sue St. Paul over sick leave," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In March 2018, Congress appropriated $380 million to states for election infrastructure and security upgrades through the 2002 Help America Vote Act. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Election Security Is Still Hurting at Every Level," 6 June 2019 Ed Ruscha appropriates the symbol of the car to address the meaning of things. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Rimowa Kicks Off Milan Design Week with a Stunning Aluminum Car Sculpture," 9 Apr. 2019 To avoid appropriating yoga, educate yourself by simply asking, reading, and committing to the practice before making any decisions about it. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "New to Yoga? 12 Things to Know Before Taking Your First Class," 4 Jan. 2019 To build the airport, the state appropriated their pasture, paying them modest compensation. New York Times, "Turkey’s Economy Is So Hot That It May Face a Meltdown," 10 July 2018 The prison shut down in 1963, and six years later, Alcatraz was claimed by Lakota activists under an 1868 treaty allowing Natives to appropriate surplus federal land. Delilah Friedler, Teen Vogue, "Activist LaNada War Jack of the Bannock Nation Details Her Time Occupying Alcatraz," 21 Mar. 2019 The legislation appropriated $3 million of the supplemental funding to South Shore, but Caveney has yet to see the money or hear from the state as to when it will be distributed. Robert Channick, chicagotribune.com, "South Shore Hospital tells state it needs $3 million in funding by Aug. 1 to avoid shutdown," 10 July 2018 Congress also appropriated another $6 billion split evenly between the next two years in a government funding bill passed this year. NBC News, "House passes massive package to address opioids crisis," 22 June 2018 Tencent ingeniously appropriated an older technology, the two-dimensional QR code, in empowering WeChat to utilize a smartphone’s camera to scan all manner of information. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Alibaba v. Tencent: The Battle for Supremacy in China," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'appropriate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of appropriate

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for appropriate

Verb and Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about appropriate

Statistics for appropriate

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for appropriate

The first known use of appropriate was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for appropriate

appropriate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of appropriate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: right or suited for some purpose or situation

appropriate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of appropriate (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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.

appropriate

adjective
ap·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ə-ˈprō-prē-ət How to pronounce appropriate (audio) \

Kids Definition of appropriate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: especially fitting or suitable The movie is appropriate for small children.

Other Words from appropriate

appropriately adverb We dressed appropriately for the occasion.

appropriate

verb
ap·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ə-ˈprō-prē-ˌāt How to pronounce appropriate (audio) \
appropriated; appropriating

Kids Definition of appropriate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to take possession of especially in an illegal or unfair way
2 : to set apart for a certain purpose or use The school appropriated funds for new books.

appropriate

transitive verb
ap·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ə-ˈprō-prē-ˌāt How to pronounce appropriate (audio) \
appropriated; appropriating

Legal Definition of appropriate

1 : to set apart for or assign to a particular recipient, purpose, or use the legislature appropriating funds for the program
2 : to take or make use of without authority or right

Other Words from appropriate

appropriation \ ə-​ˌprō-​prē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce appropriation (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for appropriate

Late Latin appropriare to take possession of, from ad to, for + proprius one's own

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on appropriate

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!