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 \ ə-​ˈprō-​prē-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce appropriable (audio) \ adjective
appropriator \ ə-​ˈprō-​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 When a patient’s request comes into conflict with these duties, a doctor may need to refuse it — though he or she is obligated to do so with kindness and an appropriate explanation of the rationale. Sarah C. Hull, STAT, "Not so conscientious objection: When can doctors refuse to treat?," 8 Nov. 2019 But there’s a fine line between appropriate and just plain weird––and rapper T.I. (real name: Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.) has definitely crossed it. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, "T.I. Takes His 18-Year-Old Daughter to the Gyno Every Year to 'Check Her Hymen'—and That's So Unnecessary," 7 Nov. 2019 The Harriet team took time to consider which locations were appropriate for filming, and which weren't yet fully healed. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "On Location: Why the Filming Locations for the Harriet Tubman Movie Were So Important," 1 Nov. 2019 The sheriff said authorities will check to see if there is underage drinking or other activities of concern, and take the appropriate action. Tribune Media Services, al, "Etowah County targets ‘open house parties’ after teen’s shooting death," 31 Oct. 2019 During a vigil for Diego, other students and their families shared similar complaints about bullying and accused the district of not taking appropriate action. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, "Calif. Boy Told Assistant Principal About Bullying Days Before Sucker Punch That Killed Him," 30 Oct. 2019 Ethics reviewed each matter and provided materials to the chief of staff, who has taken appropriate actions. Derek Kravitz, ProPublica, "The Trump Administration Says It Has Violated Its Own Ethics Pledge," 23 Oct. 2019 The film is a documentary that centers on the impacts of anxiety and is appropriate for children 10 years old and older, according to PTA officials. Burbank Leader, "Burbank area events: Author Nathalia Holt to discuss her book about women in animation," 22 Oct. 2019 Those physicians will advise whether or not a genetic health test is appropriate for a customer. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Ancestry’s genetic tests can now tell you about your health," 15 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What these arguments routinely ignore is that much of this land should have never been the federal government’s to appropriate in the first place. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Cruel Lottery to Save America’s Public Lands," 28 Oct. 2019 The county commissioners voted last week to appropriate the money from the county's hotel tax revenue. Randy Tucker, Cincinnati.com, "The Port close to finalizing deal on Millennium," 4 Oct. 2019 Comfort zones treated not as guides to appropriate behavior, but as hindrances to it. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The James Franco Lawsuit Has a Point to Make About ‘Comfort Zones’," 4 Oct. 2019 These projects were duly-appropriated by both Democrats and Republicans and have a far bigger impact on the security of our nation than a wasteful wall. Andrew Taylor, baltimoresun.com, "Cuts to military projects to pay for President Trump’s border wall will affect Fort Meade, Joint Base Andrews," 5 Sep. 2019 The responsibility for replacing the system has rested with the county, which appropriated the money but has not been able to get the job done. David Fleshler, sun-sentinel.com, "Police and fire chiefs call for removing radio system from county after Parkland failure," 5 June 2019 Guzmán appropriated the phrase, but shed both Mariátegui’s sophistication of thought and his interest in Peru’s indigenous past and present. Rachel Nolan, Harper's magazine, "A Jagged Scrap of History," 24 June 2019 There seems to be something delicious for eaters across the spectrum and appropriates the best of what each season seems to offer. Beth Segal, cleveland.com, "Thyme Table: Sage decisions can make for a great meal in Bay Village," 30 Aug. 2019 Perry’s friends and fans have accused Kloss of fabricating the allegations and appropriating the intentions of the #MeToo movement to garner publicity. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Katy Perry faces new sexual harassment allegation, second claim in a week," 16 Aug. 2019

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for appropriate

appropriate

adjective
How to pronounce appropriate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of appropriate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: right or suited for some purpose or situation

appropriate

verb
How to pronounce appropriate (audio)

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

concealed or difficult to comprehend

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!