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

There is, to be clear, no accusation or implication in the story -- or here -- of any impropriety. Gregory Krieg, CNN, "Thirty million reasons campaign finance laws are a joke," 10 May 2018 Industry observers considered his sudden departure to fit into a succession of corporate resignations sparked by the #MeToo movement against impropriety in the workplace. The Economist, "Despite falling foul of the #MeToo movement, Lululemon is soaring," 12 July 2018 Atesiano has been accused of improprieties in the past. Eli Rosenberg,, "Police framed a teen for 4 burglaries so chief could tout perfect clearance rate, prosecutors say," 11 June 2018 Flynn’s filing, submitted Tuesday, contained details that seemed intended to imply some impropriety in how the FBI questioned him over his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "New tension between Flynn and Mueller as Flynn’s sentencing approaches," 14 Dec. 2018 The next year, in 2010, AstraZeneca paid the government $520 million to settle lawsuits involving alleged improprieties in the company's clinical trials and improper marketing of Seroquel for unapproved conditions. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, "Hidden conflicts? Pharma payments to FDA advisers after drug approvals spark ethical concerns," 5 July 2018 Trump seems entirely unaware of the idea that Sessions chose to recuse himself so as to avoid the idea of impropriety in the investigation. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Donald Trump's FBI tweet reveals how little he cares about how government should work," 21 May 2018 Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz put McCabe in his crosshairs during a broad look at alleged improprieties in the handling of the Clinton e-mail case. Matt Zapotosky,, "FBI’s McCabe is fired a little more than 24 hours before he could retire," 17 Mar. 2018 But again, that data gestures at impropriety but doesn’t provide a smoking gun. Dylan Scott, Vox, "What we know about the alleged election fraud plot in North Carolina," 8 Dec. 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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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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More from Merriam-Webster on impropriety

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impropriety

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impropriety

Spanish Central: Translation of impropriety

Nglish: Translation of impropriety for Spanish Speakers

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