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

Laura Latacz, 30, of the 3700 block of North Oconto Avenue, Chicago was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs and improper lane usage in the 1600 block of Patriot Boulevard. Anna Kim,, "5 vehicles reportedly burglarized, wallet and money stolen: Glenview police," 17 Sep. 2019 Victor Culiuc, 51, of Deerfield was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and improper lane usage June 1. Steve Sadin, Lake County News-Sun, "Police: Motorists cited for DUI and cannabis possession on Deerfield roadways," 13 June 2019 In 2016, the division closed an inquiry into allegations of improper spending during a failed effort to recall Boyd Britton, a Grant County commissioner who clashed with Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer. oregonlive, "Case Closed: In Oregon campaign investigations, ‘I did not’ is all it takes," 17 Sep. 2019 Throughout his testimony, Lewandowski maintained that Mr. Trump had never made any improper requests. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Lewandowski sidesteps questions about Mueller report at House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing," 17 Sep. 2019 There are two main types: an acute strain and a proximal hamstring tendinopathy, a chronic-overuse injury often related to improper movement patterns and muscle imbalances. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "7 Exercises for Stronger Hamstrings," 13 Sep. 2019 The point is not that the substance of Probation’s input might be improper or incorrect—disputes like the one above are rare—but that it is given in secret., "Lawyers for Hollywood star Felicity Huffman and 10 other defendants who have pleaded guilty in the college admissions cheating scandal are headed to federal court in Boston on Tuesday afternoon for a key hearing on sentencing.," 11 Sep. 2019 Like Comey, after Gonzales alerted others to the existence of the notes, the Justice Department inspector general conducted an investigation into his improper handling of the documents. Marcy Wheeler, The New Republic, "How Trump’s Justice Department Screwed James Comey," 30 Aug. 2019 Thurman’s probe could not substantiate the granddaughter’s accusations that Fierle made false reports or that the request to freeze her accounts was improper. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Investigations of Rebecca Fierle reveal new details of ex-guardian’s use of DNRs, handling of wards’ finances," 17 Aug. 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

11 Oct 2019

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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

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