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

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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.”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Parents will have varying ideas about what’s appropriate for their children—whether profanity, violence, sexuality, or stereotypes—and children will differ regarding what sights or subjects frighten or trouble them. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: Twelve Classic Movies to Watch with Your Kids," 23 May 2020 One-way and directional signage will help visitors maintain appropriate social distancing. Curtis Tate, USA TODAY, "What’s the future for Disney, Universal and other theme parks around the US?," 22 May 2020 Floor markings to indicate appropriate social distancing. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Richardson reopening Heights and Huffhines recreation centers with modified services, hours," 20 May 2020 The homeless people who live near these freeways must be moved to shelters that allow for appropriate social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, Judge Carter wrote. New York Times, "Judge Orders Los Angeles to Move Homeless People Away From Freeways," 16 May 2020 City officials also warned that there are to be no gatherings of any kind and that beachgoers must maintain appropriate social distancing. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "Seal Beach joins other Orange County beaches in reopening for active recreation," 11 May 2020 This abbreviation is common enough to be defined in Merriam-Webster, but is still probably not appropriate for all contexts. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "Venturing into the land of social media acronyms," 7 May 2020 The board agreed to lift the moratorium on transfer legislation for the 2020-21 legislative cycle but recommended to the Council that changes to the waiver process as suggested by the working group are not appropriate at this time. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "One-time transfer legislation on hold for now, per NCAA Board of Directors," 30 Apr. 2020 Normally, weekday daytime hours have proven to be optimal, as the show's bare Highlander bottoms and equally naked swords are not really appropriate for children. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Straight to (CO)Video: We’re finally getting around to watching these things," 19 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In 1970, Nancy Milford published Zelda, her groundbreaking biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, which made a case for the creative genius of its subject and charged her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, with appropriating her life in his novels. Ruth Franklin, Harper's Magazine, "Splinters and Mosaics," 25 May 2020 There’s the healer Lincoln, which is the one Barack Obama appropriated. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "Sorry, Abe Lincoln Is Not on the Ballot," 16 May 2020 Legislators expected to return in a special session and appropriate the remainder of the $1.8 billion. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Ivey proposes plan for spending $1.8 billion in CARES Act funds," 14 May 2020 The constitution says the Legislature appropriates. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska legislative committee agrees to initial allocation of federal aid funds," 2 May 2020 The executive branch was rewriting the rules, and the taxpayer would just have to foot the bill whether or not Congress ever appropriated a penny. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "Congress’s Power of the Purse Loses to Obamacare at the Supreme Court," 1 May 2020 This time the virus is responsible for the crisis, and Powell has insisted that Congress appropriate money to back up the new programs, which means that taxpayers, rather than the Fed, are taking the lending risk. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "The Man with the U.S. Economy (and Trump’s Reëlection Chances) in His Hands," 28 Apr. 2020 Of course, that loses the bank money, so the point of the $350 billion Congress appropriated was to plug the hole in the banks' balance sheets. Jeff Spross, TheWeek, "There's no excuse for coronavirus aid to small businesses running out," 17 Apr. 2020 Rosenlee pointed out that Congress recently appropriated $863 million to Hawaii’s state government with hundreds of millions more for counties as part of a $2 trillion stimulus package. Fox News, "Hawaii governor considers pay cuts for teachers, nurses and first responders amid coronavirus economic woes, unions claim," 15 Apr. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for appropriate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for appropriate

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Appropriate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/appropriate. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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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

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Comments on appropriate

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