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noun, plural pro·pri·e·ties.
  1. conformity to established standards of good or proper behavior or manners.
  2. appropriateness to the purpose or circumstances; suitability.
  3. rightness or justness.
  4. the proprieties, the conventional standards of proper behavior; manners: to observe the proprieties.
  5. Obsolete. a property.
  6. Obsolete. a peculiarity or characteristic of something.

Origin of propriety

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 formsnon·pro·pri·e·ty, noun, plural non·pro·pri·e·ties.
Can be confusedprobity propriety

Synonyms for propriety

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1. decency, modesty. See etiquette. 2. aptness, fitness, seemliness. 3. correctness. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for propriety


noun plural -ties
  1. the quality or state of being appropriate or fitting
  2. conformity to the prevailing standard of behaviour, speech, etc
  3. the proprieties (plural) the standards of behaviour considered correct by polite society

Word Origin for propriety

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

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