• synonyms


See more synonyms for proprietary on Thesaurus.com
  1. belonging to a proprietor.
  2. being a proprietor; holding property: the proprietary class.
  3. pertaining to property or ownership: proprietary wealth.
  4. belonging or controlled as property.
  5. (of a brand name, product, service, formula, etc.) protected by a patent, copyright, or trademark: proprietary drugs; a proprietary name; a proprietary logo; a proprietary blend of ingredients.
  6. privately owned and operated for profit: proprietary hospitals.
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noun, plural pro·pri·e·tar·ies.
  1. an owner or proprietor.
  2. a body of proprietors.
  3. American History. the grantee or owner, or one of the grantees or owners, of a proprietary colony.
  4. ownership.
  5. something owned, especially real estate.
  6. a proprietary medicine.
  7. Also called proprietary school. a school organized as a profit-making venture primarily to teach vocational skills or self-improvement techniques.
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Origin of proprietary

1400–50; late Middle English (noun) < Medieval Latin proprietārius owner, noun use of Late Latin: of an owner, of ownership. See propriety, -ary
Related formspro·pri·e·tar·i·ly [pruh-prahy-i-tair-i-lee, -prahy-i-ter-] /prəˌpraɪ ɪˈtɛər ɪ li, -ˈpraɪ ɪˌtɛr-/, adverbnon·pro·pri·e·tar·y, adjective, noun, plural non·pro·pri·e·tar·ies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for proprietary

custody, plot, land, wealth, estate, farm, house, tract, goods, ownership, equity, home, worth, assistance, drug, remedy, treatment, medicine, aid, placebo

Examples from the Web for proprietary

Contemporary Examples of proprietary

Historical Examples of proprietary

  • He always said "your Bible," as if church members held a proprietary right.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • "My daughters," said Olivo, turning to Casanova with a proprietary air.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • It will readily be seen how advantageous these proprietary rights must have been to the wife.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • The proprietary interest which she had always felt in him was more than ever hers now.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • "I have a plan for her," said Harold, with a proprietary air.


    Alice Hegan Rice

British Dictionary definitions for proprietary


  1. of, relating to, or belonging to property or proprietors
  2. privately owned and controlled
  3. med of or denoting a drug or agent manufactured and distributed under a trade nameCompare ethical (def. 3)
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noun plural -taries
  1. med a proprietary drug or agent
  2. a proprietor or proprietors collectively
    1. right to property
    2. property owned
  3. Also called: lord proprietary (in Colonial America) an owner, governor, or grantee of a proprietary colony
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Derived Formsproprietarily, adverb

Word Origin for proprietary

C15: from Late Latin proprietārius an owner, 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

Word Origin and History for proprietary


mid-15c., "possessing worldly goods in excess of a cleric's needs," from Medieval Latin proprietarius "owner of property," noun use of Late Latin adjective proprietarius "of a property holder," from Latin proprietas "owner" (see property). Meaning "held in private ownership" is first attested 1580s. The word was used earlier in English as a noun meaning "proprietor," also "worldly person" (c.1400), from a noun use in French and Medieval Latin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

proprietary in Medicine


  1. Exclusively owned, as of a hospital.
  2. Owned by an individual or corporation under a trademark or patent, as of a drug.
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  1. A proprietary medicine.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.