adjective im·prop·er \ (ˌ)im-ˈprä-pər \
|Updated on: 16 Aug 2018

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





Examples of improper in a Sentence

  1. The doctor gave him an improper diagnosis.

  2. They claim to have evidence of improper police conduct.

  3. improper use of public land

  4. This is an improper diet for a growing teenager.

  5. It would be improper for me to ask such a favor of her.

  6. He made some improper remarks.

Recent Examples of improper from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of improper

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

IMPROPER Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of improper for English Language Learners

  • : not correct

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

  • : not suitable for the situation : not appropriate

IMPROPER Defined for Kids


adjective im·prop·er \ im-ˈprä-pər \

Definition of improper for Students

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



Law Dictionary


adjective im·prop·er

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



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fullness to the point of excess

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