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

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 According to Katz’s lawyer Carolyn Sanchez, the method in which Tigger was seized was improper, NBC News reported. Robyn Merrett,, "Cat Stolen by Nanny Is Returned to Owners Who Wanted to Euthanize It," 16 Aug. 2019 But his lawyers maintained that the new charges brought by federal prosecutors in New York were covered by the deal and were improper., "Jeffrey Epstein, accused sex trafficker with connections to the rich and powerful, dies by suicide in federal lockup in Manhattan: source," 10 Aug. 2019 The judge also ruled that Duncan’s arrest was improper because the officers came to his home with a search warrant only. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Judge rules warrants were unconstitutional in Lincoln Park gang conspiracy case," 6 Aug. 2019 During hearings in the state Capitol, Superior representatives denied that the company’s refusal to provide 24/7 nursing was improper. J. David Mcswane, ProPublica, "Are Trump’s Top Medicaid Regulators Ignoring Major Problems? Insurance Giant’s Tense Meeting With a Senator Adds to Growing Concern.," 6 Aug. 2019 Further Reading Google goes down after major BGP mishap routes traffic through China On the other hand, China Telecom has a habit of accepting and propagating BGP announcements that later turn out to be improper. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "BGP event sends European mobile traffic through China Telecom for 2 hours," 8 June 2019 Drug possession, Interstate 90 A driver was pulled over at 9:02 a.m. Aug. 8 for improper display of plates. Brian Lisik,, "Man found slumped over steering wheel of car: Avon Police Blotter.," 26 Aug. 2019 Another way is through improper brewing, which means the chemical doesn't always end up there purposefully. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Taking a vacation? Here's how to avoid tainted alcohol anywhere you travel," 22 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

13 Sep 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

Comments on improper

What made you want to look up improper? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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