pro·​pri·​e·​tor | \ prə-ˈprī-ə-tər How to pronounce proprietor (audio) \

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 How to pronounce proprietorship (audio) \ 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

The groom’s father is a proprietor and the chief executive of the Alta Lodge. New York Times, "Tess Reed, Samuel Dippo," 8 July 2018 Pass-through businesses such as S corporations, partnerships and sole proprietors pass their earnings through to their owners, who pay personal income taxes on them. Hillary Borrud,, "Knute Buehler calls on Kate Brown to veto Democrats' tax plan," 6 Mar. 2018 By the entrance, there's that definitive proof of a French restaurant's quality: a picture of the proprietor with Jacques Chirac, former French president and noted gourmand. Will Hawkes,, "A fearless foodie's foray into the bouchons of Lyon, France," 19 Mar. 2018 In the late seventies, the bar came under the ownership of the proprietor of a now defunct Bronx alehouse called the Liffy, like the river. David Kortava, The New Yorker, "Guinness Poured by an Irishman at Inwood’s The Liffy II," 9 July 2017 Lorraine Gordon, who took over the Village Vanguard, New York’s oldest and most venerated jazz nightclub, in 1989 and remained its no-nonsense proprietor for the rest of her life, died on Saturday in Manhattan. Tim Weiner, New York Times, "Lorraine Gordon, Keeper of the Village Vanguard Flame, Dies at 95," 9 June 2018 The targets of the California lawsuit are California Stem Cell Treatment Center and its proprietors, physicians Mark Berman, a cosmetic surgeon, and Elliott Lander, a surgeon and urologist. Michael Hiltzik,, "U.S. prosecutors sue to shut down clinics selling unproven stem cell treatments in California and Florida," 9 May 2018 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

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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Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for proprietor

The first known use of proprietor was in 1537

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English Language Learners Definition of proprietor

formal : a person who owns a business or property


pro·​pri·​e·​tor | \ prə-ˈprī-ə-tər How to pronounce proprietor (audio) \

Kids Definition of proprietor

: a person who owns something : owner


pro·​pri·​e·​tor | \ prə-ˈprī-ə-tər How to pronounce proprietor (audio) \

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).


a shady place in a garden or forest

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