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 Sheenia Herron, 38, of the 16600 block of Prince Dr., South Holland, was charged with driving under the influence, speeding more than 35 miles an hour over the speed limit, improper lane use and failure to signal at 1:26 a.m. Sept. 19. Graydon Megan,, 27 Sep. 2021 Experts warn improper use of humidifiers can instead lead to mold growth and exacerbation of other respiratory conditions. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 22 Sep. 2021 Lijana said improper use of the dedicated lane would be a civil infraction. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 19 Sep. 2021 Complaints made against the police by citizens – everything from rude behavior to improper use of force -- would be investigated by the staff of a Civilian Police Review Board. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 9 Sep. 2021 Troopers gave out 515 speeding tickets over the weekend and cited drivers for 282 other moving violations such as improper cellphone use or following too closely, Salerno said. Christine Dempsey,, 9 Sep. 2021 Marshall said the warning comes after employees complained about improper use of ImmPRINT. Leada Gore |, al, 8 Sep. 2021 These carbon monoxide poisoning cases come after another nine people were hospitalized in St. Tammany Parish, after improper use of a generator Tuesday night. Jemima Mcevoy, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 As people across the region turned to generators, officials were worried about carbon monoxide poisoning caused by their improper use. Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near improper



improper diphthong

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Statistics for improper

Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Improper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on improper

Nglish: Translation of improper for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of improper for Arabic Speakers


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