im·pro·pri·e·ty | \ˌim-p(r)ə-ˈprī-ə-tē \
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

Ultimately, the president grew disillusioned with Mr. Pruitt after the accusations of impropriety and ethical missteps overshadowed Mr. Pruitt’s policy achievements. New York Times, "E.P.A. Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns Under a Cloud of Ethics Scandals," 5 July 2018 The team focuses on unkempt lots, residential improprieties and ordinance violations. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Bond set at $1M for man accused of hiring hitman to kill HPD officer," 28 June 2018 What has happened in recent years — secrets, scandals, impropriety — was disappointing. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville must stop breaking open records laws and be more transparent," 25 May 2018 Members of Evanston’s Board of Ethics voted recently to dismiss complaints alleging financial impropriety that were filed against 5th Ward Ald. Genevieve Bookwalter,, "Evanston ethics board dismisses one allegation against Ald. Simmons, says others should be decided by other boards," 26 June 2018 Sorrell was investigated for an allegation of misconduct—specifically, financial impropriety regarding the use of company funds. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Martin Sorrell Is Already Back in Business," 30 May 2018 Those moves led to speculation that Mueller may be looking for evidence of financial improprieties as part of his investigation. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Five Questions for Trump That Are Missing From Robert Mueller’s List," 1 May 2018 As John Follain reports, the Democratic Party’s Matteo Renzi and Forza Italia’s Silvio Berlusconi gleefully jumped on allegations of financial impropriety, after years of moralizing from Five Star. Gregory Viscusi,, "Five Star’s Italian Rivals Pounce as Pay Pledge Backfires," 14 Feb. 2018 And the first day of the 2018 legislative session felt like a replay from 2017, with progress stalled as the governor faced accusations of impropriety by his critics in the Senate. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "Greitens’ first year: wins, ‘unforced errors,’ ethical clouds | The Kansas City Star," 7 Jan. 2018

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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Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for impropriety

The first known use of impropriety was in 1607

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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

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Comments on impropriety

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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