pro·​pri·​e·​tor | \prə-ˈprī-ə-tər \

Definition of proprietor 

1 : one granted ownership of a colony (such as one of the original American colonies) and full prerogatives of establishing a government and distributing land

2a : a person who has the legal right or exclusive title to something : owner

b : one having an interest (such as control or present use) less than absolute and exclusive right

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Other Words from proprietor

proprietorship \prə-​ˈprī-​ə-​tər-​ˌship \ noun

Synonyms for proprietor


holder, owner, possessor

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Examples of proprietor in a Sentence

She is the proprietor of the store. the proprietor of a used-car dealership

Recent Examples on the Web

Blame the soaring rents, the aging proprietors, or a shift in how young people dine—whatever the reason for the taberna’s demise, in the span of a generation, Madrid stands to lose one of its most remarkable social traditions. Benjamin Kemper, Condé Nast Traveler, "Tapas Crawling With Madrid’s 'Taberna King'," 26 Sep. 2018 Nicolas Bijan, the proprietor of Bijan, the famed appointment-only boutique in Beverly Hills, is a smooth, voluble host. Maer Roshan, Town & Country, "In Beverly Hills and Beyond, Bijan Carries on a Tradition of Excess and Exclusivity," 22 Oct. 2018 Arlene’s Flowers was found in violation of state law and, backed by the same Christian non-profit that defended Masterpiece Cakeshop, the proprietor has appealed to the Supreme Court. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Howard Schultz, Twitter Pop, Manafort Accusation: CEO Daily for June 5, 2018," 5 June 2018 Etsy's sellers are even smaller: Nearly eight in 10 are sole proprietors, nearly nine in 10 are women, and nearly all are based in homes. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes on more online transactions," 21 June 2018 The proprietor, Jimmy Glenn, is a former prizefighter and cornerman for Floyd Patterson. David Kortava, The New Yorker, "The Underdog Story of Times Square’s Still Gritty Jimmy’s Corner," 11 May 2018 Wen Kosters-Qin, proprietor of Sustain Juicery at 4061 Bellaire, recently opened JuiceWell in the new Regions Bank building at 3773 Richmond near Greenway Plaza. Houston Chronicle, "JuiceWell to join Hopdoddy, International Smoke as new CityCentre tenants," 30 May 2018 This configuration would be better suited to a sole proprietor with towing and hauling as his or her business, or someone with a heavy hobby, to double as the family car. Andy Mikonis,, "Ford F-350 Super Duty is a refined towing beast," 1 June 2017 At Carson-Newman, the proprietor of the Massey Ratings has been known to follow the Eagles’ softball team. Joan Niesen,, "The Computer Poll Uprising: Creators of the BCS's Most Controversial Component Look Back," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proprietor.' 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 proprietor

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for proprietor

alteration of proprietary entry 1

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Statistics for proprietor

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for proprietor

The first known use of proprietor was in 1537

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More Definitions for proprietor



English Language Learners Definition of proprietor

: a person who owns a business or property


pro·​pri·​e·​tor | \prə-ˈprī-ə-tər \

Kids Definition of proprietor

: a person who owns something : owner


pro·​pri·​e·​tor | \prə-ˈprī-ə-tər \

Legal Definition of proprietor 

: one who has legal right or exclusive title to something : owner also : one (as a lessee) having an interest (as control or present use) less than absolute or exclusive right

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Comments on proprietor

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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