im·prop·er | \(ˌ)im-ˈprä-pər \

Definition of improper 

: not proper: such as

a : not in accord with fact, truth, or right procedure : incorrect improper inference

b : not regularly or normally formed or not properly so called

c : not suited to the circumstances, design, or end improper medicine

d : not in accord with propriety, modesty, good manners, or good taste improper language

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Other Words from improper

improperly adverb
improperness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for improper

indecorous, improper, unseemly, unbecoming, indelicate mean not conforming to what is accepted as right, fitting, or in good taste. indecorous suggests a violation of accepted standards of good manners. indecorous behavior improper applies to a broader range of transgressions of rules not only of social behavior but of ethical practice or logical procedure or prescribed method. improper use of campaign contributions unseemly adds a suggestion of special inappropriateness to a situation or an offensiveness to good taste. remarried with unseemly haste unbecoming suggests behavior or language that does not suit one's character or status. conduct unbecoming to an officer indelicate implies a lack of modesty or of tact or of refined perception of feeling. indelicate expressions for bodily functions

Examples of improper in a Sentence

The doctor gave him an improper diagnosis. They claim to have evidence of improper police conduct. improper use of public land This is an improper diet for a growing teenager. It would be improper for me to ask such a favor of her. He made some improper remarks.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Matte also pleaded guilty to improper lane use, for which Knight sentenced her to a $50 fine plus court costs. Robert Rhoden,, "Olivia Matte pleads guilty to DWI that occurred before Causeway fatality," 24 Apr. 2018 Republicans have said the memo reveals improper use of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the Russia investigation. Chad Day And Zeke Miller, Houston Chronicle, "White House reviewing GOP memo alleging surveillance abuse," 30 Jan. 2018 The next year, in 2010, AstraZeneca paid the government $520 million to settle lawsuits involving alleged improprieties in the company's clinical trials and improper marketing of Seroquel for unapproved conditions. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, "Hidden conflicts? Pharma payments to FDA advisers after drug approvals spark ethical concerns," 5 July 2018 The New York Department of Financial Services found that from 2007 to 2013, Deutsche Bank engaged in improper, unsafe, and unsound conduct in its currency trading business., "SHYFT Analytics to be acquird by New York company," 21 June 2018 Dozens of programs have been ensnared in an FBI probe and subsequent media reports looking into improper benefits to players provided by unmoored coaches and shady agents. Washington Post, "Unbelievable. Biggest upset reveals best in college hoops," 17 Mar. 2018 Patricia Dahlberg, 44, 2600 block of Village Green Drive, Aurora, was charged with drunken driving and improper turn at 1:03 a.m. Thursday near South Ohio Street and East New York Street, Aurora police said. Erika Wurst, Aurora Beacon-News, "Police say Aurora woman charged with felony marijuana possession," 18 May 2018 The improper or questionable transactions on the charge cards made up a tiny fraction of roughly $15 million in purchases during the 2016-2017 school year, according to the audit. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Audit flags questionable expenses at Anchorage School District," 30 Apr. 2018 Under state law, public officials can accept gifts, but not if the gift personally benefits the official or has improper influence on the official's duties. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "Glendale lawmakers took game tickets from casino owner, other pricey gifts," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'improper.' 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 improper

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for improper

Middle English, from Middle French impropre, from Latin improprius, from in- + proprius proper

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Statistics for improper

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for improper

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

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More Definitions for improper



English Language Learners Definition of improper

: not correct

: not following rules of acceptable behavior : legally or morally wrong

: not suitable for the situation : not appropriate


im·prop·er | \im-ˈprä-pər \

Kids Definition of improper

: not proper, right, or suitable He used improper grammar.

Other Words from improper

improperly adverb



Legal Definition of improper 

: not proper: as

a : not in accord with correct procedure an improper venue

b : wrongful specifically : in violation of a constitution the denial of trial by jury was held improper

Other Words from improper

improperly adverb

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Comments on improper

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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