im·​prop·​er | \ (ˌ)im-ˈprä-pər How to pronounce improper (audio) \

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

Several factors led to failure, including improper maintenance, design flaws and unfinished construction. Fox News, "Tropical Storm Barry tests Louisiana's multi-billion-dollar post-Katrina flood defenses," 17 July 2019 Manger pleaded guilty in June to soliciting or receiving improper compensation, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. Jeanne Houck,, "Judge orders ex-Clermont engineer to make restitution for unlawful use of employees, equipment," 16 July 2019 The man was charged with improper handling of a firearm, driving with an expired plate, driving under suspension and for not wearing a seat belt., "Man, 50, arrested for arranging sexual meet-up with boy, 15: Solon Police Blotter," 12 July 2019 The most common violations typically include insect or rodent droppings in the restaurant, improper storage techniques, unsanitary employee practices or failing to keep hot water running at the proper temperature. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "New Houston restaurant MAD among cleanest places to eat in June, according to health inspections," 12 July 2019 Harris is charged with felony assault on a police officer, possession of marijuana, reckless endangerment, attempting to elude, improper lane chance and resisting arrest. Carol Robinson |,, "2 jailed after I-20 chase, overnight manhunt in east Alabama," 11 July 2019 In the appeal, R.J. Reynolds attorneys argued that the verdict was excessive and that a plaintiffs’ attorney made improper comments during closing arguments., "Florida Supreme Court won’t hear R.J. Reynolds’ appeal of $14.7 million award in Miami smoker’s death," 11 July 2019 In some cases, lawyers have been able to show that the company gave improper notice, delaying eviction while residents search for a new place to live. Time, "Mobile Home Residents Hit With Soaring Rent After Hurricanes," 10 July 2019 Another young rider who competed in the Southeast in the late 1990s and 2000s told USA TODAY Sports that there were rampant improper relationships back then between trainers and their teenage pupils. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Horse trainer's suicide has equestrian community questioning sexual abuse investigations," 9 July 2019

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

19 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce improper (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on improper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with improper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for improper

Spanish Central: Translation of improper

Nglish: Translation of improper for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of improper for Arabic Speakers

Comments on improper

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