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

Definition of improper

: not proper: such as
a : not in accord with propriety, modesty, good manners, or good taste improper language
b : not suited to the circumstances, design, or end improper medicine
c : not regularly or normally formed or not properly so called
d : not in accord with fact, truth, or right procedure : incorrect improper inference

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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 The survey specifically examines policies from the Citizen’s Police Complaint Office, which receives and investigates allegations of improper conduct or procedural violations by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers. Lawrence Andrea, The Indianapolis Star, "Hogsett asks for public to help in review of police oversight procedures," 22 Sep. 2020 In 2017, a Beijing court ruled that China's pharmaceutical regulator received improper payments from vaccine makers including Sinovac. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "China’s Sinovac plans to test COVID vaccine on children before the company is sure the inoculation works in adults," 18 Sep. 2020 Mama Jojos LLC in Columbus, known as Dahlia Nightclub, was cited for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Segann March, The Enquirer, "Springfield Twp. business cited for violating alcohol curfew," 6 Sep. 2020 Individual expression is considered improper conduct. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, "The Cowboys shouldn’t need a ‘green light’ from ownership to protest against racism, social injustices," 3 Sep. 2020 The Cleveland man, 28, was charged with improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle and driving under suspension. cleveland, "Postal carrier argues policy forbidding Donald Trump face mask: Richmond Heights Police Blotter," 11 Sep. 2020 The contract was awarded last year to Microsoft amid complaints from Amazon that the decision process was tainted by President Donald Trump's improper political influence. Brian Fung, CNN, "Amazon names former NSA director to its board," 10 Sep. 2020 Management of the lab was one of the factors federal inspectors listed among violations cited in a May audit — along with improper handling of specimens and not verifying the accuracy of a machine used in the testing process. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Director resigns at lab that faced scrutiny for its handling of Test Utah’s COVID-19 tests," 2 Sep. 2020 Three people have died in Port Arthur, Texas, possibly from carbon monoxide poisoning from improper generator use, the Beaumont Enterprise reports. Abigail Rosenthal, Houston Chronicle, "3 dead in Port Arthur, possibly due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generator use," 28 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for improper

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for improper

Last Updated

26 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Improper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for improper


How to pronounce improper (audio)

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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