proprietary

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

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The open-source model was once anathema to Microsoft, the largest commercial software company, which had favored keeping its code proprietary. Steve Lohr, New York Times, "Microsoft Buys GitHub for $7.5 Billion, Moving to Grow in Coding’s New Era," 4 June 2018 Tom’s Hardware also reports that the new GTX 1180 will be capable of outputting up to 120Hz to VR headsets over a single proprietary cable. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1180 could be unveiled next month," 2 July 2018 First was the inevitable appearance of Metal, Apple's proprietary 3D graphics API—the news here is that Metal will support up to four external GPUs on Mojave. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple announces macOS 10.14 “Mojave”," 4 June 2018 Imagine if such a report had been written about proprietary (for-profit) schools? WSJ, "Is the Job Corps Successful Enough at Its Job?," 26 Apr. 2018 Those ventures have typically used open-source software development techniques while keeping some code proprietary. Steve Lohr, New York Times, "Microsoft Buys GitHub for $7.5 Billion, Moving to Grow in Coding’s New Era," 4 June 2018 Google's internal version-control system is a proprietary, in-house system called Piper. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Everyone complaining about Microsoft buying GitHub needs to offer a better solution," 4 June 2018 Liu previously worked for the engineering firm as an engineer and had access to proprietary and trade secret data. Jose R. Gonzalez, Houston Chronicle, "Houston man indicted for 'vast criminal conspiracy' to aid China-owned companies," 27 Apr. 2018 Rotenberg questioned the redactions, which the FTC said were made in part because of concerns about proprietary or trade secret information. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "Facebook’s 2017 Privacy Audit Didn’t Catch Cambridge Analytica," 19 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The company filmed the scenes using a standardized patient and Microsoft’s proprietary holographic capture technology, which employs 106 cameras ringed around a 10-foot green-screen dome. Leigh Kamping-carder, WSJ, "How Holograms Are Helping Medical Training," 5 July 2018 Scientists with conflicting proprietary interests jousted about the putative benefits of bar soap versus liquid soap beginning in the 1980s. Richard Klasco, New York Times, "Can a Bar of Soap Transmit Infection?," 22 June 2018 And each title has specific terminology — and fans who take a proprietary interest. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, "Marcus ‘DJ Wheat’ Graham is the John Madden of gaming," 12 Jan. 2018 Awkward because no business wants to disclose its entire customer list or other proprietary information, especially to a company that could be a competitor. Diane Mastrull, Philly.com, "Software-guided B2B partnerships are the aim of Bob Moore's new Crossbeam," 9 July 2018 Entry cannot defame or invade publicity rights or privacy of any person, living or deceased, or otherwise infringe upon any person's personal or proprietary rights including but not limited to copyrights or trademarks. CNN, "OFFICIAL RULES AND REGULATIONS," 12 June 2018 Heating elements are designed from a custom, proprietary metal alloy that won’t break down or explode in the way cheaper, ordinary copper elements will. Todd Plummer, Vogue, "What Do You Get From a $35,000 Espresso Machine?," 29 May 2018 Smaller banks will also be relieved of some of the Volcker Rule proprietary trading restrictions under the measure. CBS News, "Trump, at bill signing scaling back Dodd-Frank, says U.S. prepared for anything on N.K. — live updates," 24 May 2018 His departure comes amidst ongoing corporate reorganization in anticipation of the proprietary streaming service intended to compete with Netflix. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "Bruce Rosenblum Exits Disney-ABC," 23 May 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for proprietary

Last Updated

25 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for proprietary

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

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More Definitions for proprietary

proprietary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of proprietary

: 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 \
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 \
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

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