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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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 store proprietor was rescued by his 13-year-old son, who heard his father yelling for help and came out with a bat to scare the attacker off. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: A Central Valley man’s lifelong quest to build his own Chicano library," 22 Aug. 2019 Among the many issues facing suburban officials now that the state has approved legal weed is how to regulate where proprietors can set up shop. Randy Blaser,, "Column: Recreational marijuana is coming, and suburban leaders have some decisions to make," 16 Aug. 2019 Scott Ivey The pictures in Scott Ivey’s show at Artist’s Proof are hung a bit lower than is usual for the gallery, notes proprietor Peggy Sparks. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: At two Washington spaces, art of a political caliber," 16 Aug. 2019 This was the one-room living space of the proprietor’s family. Karan Mahajan, The New Yorker, "The Delhi Walla’s Visions of a Possibly Vanishing India," 11 Aug. 2019 In other Saratoga news, Al Drewke, proprietor of Roudon-Smith Winery, recently opened a tasting room in the location formerly occupied by Ser and SilverTip, at 14572 Big Basin Way, adjacent to Plumed Horse Chocolaterie by Angelica. Laura Ness, The Mercury News, "Change is coming to West Valley restaurants, wineries," 9 Aug. 2019 The proprietor sets down a plate of bread and meat. National Geographic, "In Corsica, on a quest for beautiful harmony," 24 July 2019 That is to say, land draws value largely from the community around it, not simply the improvements made on it by the proprietor. Mike Gravel, Fortune, "Mike Gravel: Why the American People Need Their Own Legislature," 11 July 2019 Folk: Folk proprietors Kiki Louya and Rohani Foulkes put forth a relatively small menu that’s large on flavor and variety with breakfast and lunch fare. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Don't miss these restaurants at the Free Press' Wine + Food Experience," 11 July 2019

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

27 Aug 2019

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

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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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