pro·​pri·​e·​tor prə-ˈprī-ə-tər How to pronounce proprietor (audio)
: one granted ownership of a colony (such as one of the original American colonies) and full prerogatives of establishing a government and distributing land
: a person who has the legal right or exclusive title to something : owner
: one having an interest (such as control or present use) less than absolute and exclusive right

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 Her father was a shoe salesman and union activist and later the proprietor of a shoe store, and her mother was a secretary and a homemaker. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2023 Riley Keough, Lisa Marie’s oldest daughter, recently became the sole proprietor of Graceland after a months-long legal dispute with Priscilla. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 6 Sep. 2023 Gary Duncan, the proprietor, is a car dealer—meaning a new-car dealer, currently with Honda and Hyundai franchises. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 27 Aug. 2023 One firm’s proprietor says business is already down 80 percent and layoffs can only be fended off until September or October. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 July 2023 Inn at Mattei’s Tavern even has a Meet the Maker program, where guests can tour vineyards and taste wine with the vineyards’ proprietors and winemakers. Maya Kachroo-Levine, Travel + Leisure, 22 Aug. 2023 The proprietor, Stéphane Roudier, is apologetic, first for the appearance of his aging stillhouse, then for the lack of heating in this unseasonably cold winter. Jason O'Bryan, Robb Report, 19 Aug. 2023 The previous proprietor, Marston’s, sold the building to a company called ATE Farms Limited in late July, a Marston’s spokesman wrote in an email. Aaron Boxerman, New York Times, 12 Aug. 2023 But first watch this video in which Popular Mechanics contributor Mark Clement (a contractor and proprietor of installs a new Fluidmaster fill valve. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 25 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'proprietor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration of proprietary entry 1

First Known Use

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of proprietor was in 1537

Dictionary Entries Near proprietor

Cite this Entry

“Proprietor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a person to whom ownership of a colony is granted
: a person who is owner
the proprietor of the store

Legal Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on proprietor

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