im·​pro·​pri·​e·​ty | \ ˌim-p(r)ə-ˈprī-ə-tē How to pronounce impropriety (audio) \
plural improprieties

Definition of impropriety

1 : an improper or indecorous act or remark especially : an unacceptable use of a word or of language
2 : the quality or state of being improper

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Examples of impropriety in a Sentence

He has a reputation for impropriety. The judge excused herself from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. She was shocked by the young man's impropriety. She was shocked by the impropriety of his behavior. He has been accused of financial improprieties.
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Recent Examples on the Web That odd feeling of impropriety isn’t necessarily a statement about the trustworthiness of the writer or their ideas, but a sense of dissonance at the book as an object. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2021 When Clay Helton was first elevated to head coach, after years of scandal and impropriety surrounding USC football, he was viewed as a virtuous caretaker, capable of restoring a troubled program with a fresh sense of integrity and stability. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2021 Former President Trump argued the Ukraine deal showed impropriety in the Biden family. CBS News, 9 July 2021 No criminal impropriety was found, but by end of 2019, the society and the zoo were winding up a messy divorce. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 July 2021 Hancock, who expressed concerns that Pierce was exploiting the family, was sensitive about financial impropriety. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, 28 June 2021 Hours ahead of Bush’s announcement, Paxton’s office publicized a court brief that denies claims of impropriety leveled by top-level deputies who were fired after taking part in an extraordinary revolt against Paxton last fall. Paul J. Weber, USA TODAY, 4 June 2021 Jinks is accused of violating the state Canons of Judicial Ethics, the guidelines that say judges must uphold the honor of the judiciary, maintain decorum and avoid impropriety. NBC News, 19 May 2021 Apple's lawyer is, wryly, suggesting impropriety on the part of Epic. Robert Hackett, Fortune, 11 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impropriety.' 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 impropriety

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for impropriety

French or Late Latin; French impropriété, from Late Latin improprietat-, improprietas, from Latin improprius

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Time Traveler for impropriety

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The first known use of impropriety was in 1607

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for impropriety



English Language Learners Definition of impropriety

: rude or immoral behavior : improper behavior
: a rude or improper quality
: a wrong or immoral act : an improper act

More from Merriam-Webster on impropriety

Nglish: Translation of impropriety for Spanish Speakers


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