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[pruh-prahy-i-ter] /prəˈpraɪ ɪ tər/
the owner of a business establishment, a hotel, etc.
a person who has the exclusive right or title to something; an owner, as of real property.
a group of proprietors; proprietary.
Origin of proprietor
First recorded in 1630-40; propriet(ary) + -or2
Related forms
[pruh-prahy-i-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /prəˌpraɪ ɪˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
proprietorially, adverb
proprietorship, noun
nonproprietor, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for proprietorial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He cared for her not at all; he was sure she cared for him only in the proprietorial sense.

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    Irvin S. (Irvin Shrewsbury) Cobb
  • "Mrs. Bassett," he said softly, lingering on the proprietorial term.

  • Saying what he said next, he continued to whisper, but in his whisper was a suggestion of the proprietorial tone.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • He spoke with a proprietorial air as one might of a household pet, pronouncing the name of his city Louie.

    The Rosie World Parker Fillmore
  • She could follow his fortunes—she could openly be his friend—she felt a kind of claim on him and proprietorial right over him.

    The Dictator

    Justin McCarthy
  • She assumed a proprietorial air toward Jack Glover, which unaccountably annoyed Lydia.

    The Angel of Terror Edgar Wallace
  • The smile which this outburst of proprietorial indignation brought to the face of the consul lingered with the Englishman's reply.

  • When they reached the farmhouse Hood drew out a key and opened the front door with a proprietorial air.

    The Madness of May

    Meredith Nicholson
  • He looked up the street, down the street, and across the street, smiling all the time—a proprietorial sort of smile.

    Recollections David Christie Murray
British Dictionary definitions for proprietorial


an owner of an unincorporated business enterprise
a person enjoying exclusive right of ownership to some property
(US, history) a governor or body of governors of a proprietary colony
Derived Forms
proprietorship, noun
proprietorial (prəˌpraɪəˈtɔːrɪəl) adjective
proprietress, proprietrix, noun:feminine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for proprietorial



1630s, "owner, by royal grant, of an American colony," probably from proprietary (n.) in sense "property owner" (late 15c., see proprietary). In general sense of "one who holds something as property" it is attested from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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