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90s Slang You Should Know


[pruh-prahy-i-tee] /prəˈpraɪ ɪ ti/
noun, plural proprieties.
conformity to established standards of good or proper behavior or manners.
appropriateness to the purpose or circumstances; suitability.
rightness or justness.
the proprieties, the conventional standards of proper behavior; manners:
to observe the proprieties.
Obsolete. a property.
Obsolete. a peculiarity or characteristic of something.
Origin of propriety
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English propriete ownership, something owned, one's own nature (compare variant proprete property) < Middle French propriété < Latin proprietās peculiarity, ownership, equivalent to propri(us) proper + -etās, variant, after vowels, of -itās -ity
Related forms
nonpropriety, noun, plural nonproprieties.
Can be confused
probity, propriety.
1. decency, modesty. See etiquette. 2. aptness, fitness, seemliness. 3. correctness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for propriety
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I need not urge the propriety of availing yourself of your present situation to procure a loan.

  • Special occasion for rules of propriety is offered by eating.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • But Trevelyan would not give up the letter, nor indicate by a word that he would reconsider the question of its propriety.

    He Knew He Was Right Anthony Trollope
  • He stopped for propriety's sake because the servant came in.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • He had consulted with Mr. Arabin, who had suggested the propriety of calling in the aid of the Master of Lazarus.

    Barchester Towers Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for propriety


noun (pl) -ties
the quality or state of being appropriate or fitting
conformity to the prevailing standard of behaviour, speech, etc
(pl) the proprieties, the standards of behaviour considered correct by polite society
Word Origin
C15: from Old French propriété, from Latin proprietās a peculiarity, from proprius one's own
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 propriety

mid-15c., "proper character, disposition," from Old French proprieté "individuality, peculiarity; property" (12c.), from Latin proprietatem (nominative proprietas) "appropriateness," also "ownership" (see property). Meaning "fitness, appropriateness" is attested from 1610s; sense of "conformity to good manners" is from 1782.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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