1

proprietary

noun pro·pri·e·tary \ prə-ˈprī-ə-ˌter-ē \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of proprietary

plural proprietaries
1 :one that possesses, owns, or holds exclusive right to something; specifically :proprietor 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

Recent Examples of proprietary from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of proprietary

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


2

proprietary

adjective pro·pri·e·tary \ prə-ˈprī-ə-ˌter-ē \

Definition of proprietary

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

Examples of proprietary in a Sentence

  1. 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 AngellNew York Review of Books8 June 2006
  2. It is a proprietary faith: no one better tell me what to do with my own land. —Lance MorrowTime11 Sept. 2000
  3. Many veterans have adopted a proprietary attitude toward the war, and they can get a bit belligerent about it. —Nicholas ProffittNew York Times Book Review21 May 1989
  4. The investors have a proprietary interest in the land.

  5. The computer comes with the manufacturer's proprietary software.

  6. “Merriam-Webster” is a proprietary name.

  7. The journalist tried to get access to proprietary information.

Recent Examples of proprietary from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of proprietary

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


PROPRIETARY Defined for English Language Learners

proprietary

adjective

Definition of proprietary for English Language Learners

  • : 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


Medical Dictionary

1

proprietary

noun pro·pri·e·tary \ p(r)ə-ˈprī-ə-ˌter-ē \

medical Definition of proprietary

plural proprietaries
: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

proprietary

adjective

medical Definition of proprietary

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

Law Dictionary

1

proprietary

noun pro·pri·e·tary \ prə-ˈprī-ə-ˌter-ē \

legal Definition of proprietary

plural proprietaries
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

2

proprietary

adjective

legal Definition of proprietary

1 a :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


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