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

When inspectors reviewed the tests at all three carmakers, Suzuki's improper testing appeared to go as far back as 2012. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Suzuki, Mazda, Yamaha All Used Falsified Emissions Data," 9 Aug. 2018 Advocating on behalf of clients, Secrest said, should not be construed as improper behavior. Zach Despart, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County public defender keeps job amid questions from Commissioners Court," 12 June 2018 The improper behavior ranged from unwanted touching to suggestive comments that made women feel uncomfortable. Sopan Deb, miamiherald, "She interviewed Morgan Freeman. Then she wondered how he acted around other women | Miami Herald," 27 May 2018 The President nominated Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, a White House physician, to lead the VA, but Jackson withdrew his nomination amid allegations of improper behavior that were leveled against him. Juana Summers, CNN, "Senate passes proposal to expand private health care for veterans," 23 May 2018 The president’s nomination of Ronny Jackson to replace Shulkin collapsed last month amid allegations of Jackson’s improper behavior as White House physician, leaving a leadership void in the government’s second-largest agency. Bill Lambrecht, San Antonio Express-News, "Gulf War Illness," 12 May 2018 In 2016, the City Council released a summary of Kischnick’s improper behavior while voting to keep secret a thick report about him compiled by the city’s former labor lawyer. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-Troy city manager Kischnick pleads no contest to tackling, pushing female co-worker," 16 Apr. 2018 Nike did not directly tie Edwards or Martin to any allegation of improper behavior. Chris Chavez,, "Nike CEO Mark Parker Addresses Nike Workplace Misconduct Allegations," 22 Mar. 2018 Nike has repeatedly said there were no direct allegations of improper behavior against Edwards. Matthew Townsend,, "Tarnished Nike Executive Is Slated to Receive $525,000 Payout," 19 Mar. 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

6 Dec 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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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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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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