proprietary

noun
pro·​pri·​e·​tary | \ prə-ˈprī-ə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce proprietary (audio) \
plural proprietaries

Definition of proprietary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one that possesses, owns, or holds exclusive right to something specifically : proprietor sense 1
2 : something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker specifically : a drug (such as a patent medicine) that is protected by secrecy, patent, or copyright against free competition as to name, product, composition, or process of manufacture
3 : a business secretly owned by and run as a cover for an intelligence organization

proprietary

adjective
pro·​pri·​e·​tary | \ prə-ˈprī-ə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce proprietary (audio) \

Definition of proprietary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of an owner or title holder proprietary rights
2 : used, made, or marketed by one having the exclusive legal right a proprietary process proprietary software
3 : privately owned and managed and run as a profit-making organization a proprietary clinic

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

A proprietary process is a manufacturing process that others are forbidden to use, and a proprietary trademark is a name that only the owner can use. Legal rights of this kind are ensured by copyrights and patents. After a certain period of time, inventions and processes lose their legal protection, cease to be proprietary, and enter the "public domain", meaning that everyone can use them freely. Baseball fans often take a proprietary attitude toward their favorite team—that is, they behave more or less as if they own it, even though the only thing they may own is the right to yell from a bleacher seat till the end of a game.

Examples of proprietary in a Sentence

Adjective By allowing less favorable results to remain buried, the agency puts proprietary interests ahead of the public interest, and doctors and the public come to believe prescription drugs are better than they are. That should stop. — Marcia Angell, New York Review of Books, 8 June 2006 It is a proprietary faith: no one better tell me what to do with my own land. — Lance Morrow, Time, 11 Sept. 2000 Many veterans have adopted a proprietary attitude toward the war, and they can get a bit belligerent about it. — Nicholas Proffitt, New York Times Book Review, 21 May 1989 The investors have a proprietary interest in the land. The computer comes with the manufacturer's proprietary software. “Merriam-Webster” is a proprietary name. The journalist tried to get access to proprietary information.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Called ActivePure Technology, and commercially available since 2013 as the Air Scrubber Plus, the key to its function is a proprietary blend of reactive metals added to the original titanium dioxide coating. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Oregon winery deploys ultraviolet light technology in coronavirus battle," 23 May 2020 If the pool of participants is large enough, that wouldn't be a problem: a report combining data from 200 vendors selling something like iPhone cases, for example, would be unlikely to reveal any proprietary data about any of them. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Amazon reportedly used merchant data, despite telling Congress it doesn’t," 24 Apr. 2020 Founded in 2003, B Cellars is best known for its proprietary blends, heritage wines and several other small-batch varietals. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian Magazine, "These California Wineries Are Hosting Virtual Wine Tastings," 10 Apr. 2020 Though sometimes criticized within the sport for its use of power and for the pricing of its proprietary data, The Jockey Club has also demonstrated a strong and costly commitment to the betterment of the breed. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "An inside job helped lead the FBI to indictments in the horse racing drug scandal," 11 Mar. 2020 When used with the proprietary microfilter—350 come with purchase, and additional microfilters are a paltry $5—there’s no grit and grinds like in a traditional French press. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "The Best New Camping Gear of the Year," 7 Apr. 2020 That information had long been considered proprietary, and any publicly available research done on it was either conducted in-house or required preapproval from Facebook. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Researchers finally get access to data on Facebook’s role in political discourse," 13 Feb. 2020 In other ways, CZI’s science initiative is charting a more open and collaborative course than is typical in Silicon Valley, where proprietary code is often fiercely guarded. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "Priscilla Chan charts an ambitious, unglamorous course to fight disease. (Her husband is involved, too.)," 11 Feb. 2020 Iran’s cyber espionage campaigns gain access to networks in order to steal proprietary and sensitive data in areas of interest to the regime. Dorothy Denning, The Conversation, "How Iran’s military outsources its cyberthreat forces," 22 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proprietary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of proprietary

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for proprietary

Noun

Middle English propietarie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin propietarius, from Late Latin, adjective — see proprietary entry 2

Adjective

Late Latin proprietarius, from Latin proprietas property — more at property

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about proprietary

Time Traveler for proprietary

Time Traveler

The first known use of proprietary was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for proprietary

Cite this Entry

“Proprietary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proprietary. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for proprietary

proprietary

adjective
How to pronounce proprietary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of proprietary

formal
: of or like that of an owner
: used, made, or sold only by the particular person or company that has the legal right to do so
: kept private by an owner

proprietary

noun
pro·​pri·​e·​tary | \ p(r)ə-ˈprī-ə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce proprietary (audio) \
plural proprietaries

Medical Definition of proprietary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker specifically : a drug (as a patent medicine) that is protected by secrecy, patent, or copyright against free competition as to name, product, composition, or process of manufacture

proprietary

adjective

Medical Definition of proprietary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : used, made, or marketed by one having the exclusive legal right a proprietary drug
2 : privately owned and managed and run as a profit-making organization a proprietary clinic

proprietary

noun
pro·​pri·​e·​tary | \ prə-ˈprī-ə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce proprietary (audio) \
plural proprietaries

Legal Definition of proprietary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker specifically : a drug (as a patent medicine) that is protected by secrecy, patent, or copyright against free competition as to name, product, composition, or process of manufacture
2 : a business secretly owned by and run as a cover for an intelligence operation

proprietary

adjective

Legal Definition of proprietary (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : held as property of a private owner
b : of, relating to, or characteristic of a proprietor proprietary rights
2 : used, made, or marketed by one having the exclusive legal right a proprietary process
3 : privately owned and managed and run as a profit-making organization a proprietary insurer a proprietary clinic
4 : of or relating to the acts of a municipality which profit or benefit the municipality and for which it is answerable in negligence

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on proprietary

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!