See more synonyms for proprietary on
  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.
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.

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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)
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
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.

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.
  1. A proprietary medicine.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.