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

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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: Adjective Toyota didn’t see this playbook as proprietary information, Reynolds says. Dallas News, "How Toyota, the Mavs and the Dallas Regional Chamber model community responses," 8 July 2020 But few details were provided beyond general observations, in large part because Boeing, like SpaceX, is operating under a commercial contract that protects proprietary data. William Harwood, CBS News, "NASA outlines road ahead for resumption of Boeing Starliner flights," 7 July 2020 To help enhance workouts, the collection is engineered with innovative and proprietary fibers, including EleVen Ozone for protection against harmful rays and EleVen Pro-Dri for quick-drying and superior breathability. Nandi Howard, Essence, "EleVen by Venus Williams Launches New Collection," 29 June 2020 According to a proprietary EY report, the most advanced zones in Latin America can create a business-friendly environment comparable to the U.S.’s and the world’s most dynamic hubs of enterprise. Erick A. Brimen, Fortune, "Why Latin America’s economic security is key to fixing U.S. immigration," 9 July 2020 In years past, election-machine venders have threatened to sue researchers who tried to examine their proprietary software. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "Can Our Ballots Be Both Secret and Secure?," 7 July 2020 Novavax’s vaccine approach is what’s known as a recombinant nanoparticle vaccine used in combination with a proprietary adjuvant, a compound that boosts the immune response. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Novavax, maker of a Covid-19 vaccine, is backed by Operation Warp Speed," 7 July 2020 Linus Torvalds, lead developer of the Linux kernel, created Git to replace the proprietary software BitKeeper, which used the same terminology. Elizabeth Landau, Wired, "Tech Confronts Its Use of the Labels ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’," 6 July 2020 The Volcker rule, named for its chief proponent, the late Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, generally prohibited banks from engaging in proprietary trading and from acquiring ownership interests in hedge funds and private equity funds. Washington Post, "Federal banking agencies ease Volcker Rule restrictions," 25 June 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.

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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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Time Traveler for proprietary

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for proprietary

Cite this Entry

“Proprietary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proprietary. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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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

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Comments on proprietary

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