Definition of propriety in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈprʌɪəti/

noun (plural proprieties)

[mass noun]
1Conformity to conventionally accepted standards of behaviour or morals: he always behaved with the utmost propriety
More example sentences
  • He and my mother fought often, either when his cruelty surfaced or when his behaviour failed to meet her standards of propriety.
  • The commission will also vet all nominations for life peers, including those made by the political parties, for the highest standards of propriety.
  • The movie deals with the need for moral propriety in life.
decorum, respectability, decency, correctness, appropriateness, good manners, courtesy, politeness, rectitude, civility, modesty, demureness;
sobriety, refinement, decorousness, seemliness, becomingness, discretion, gentility, etiquette, breeding, conventionality, orthodoxy, formality, protocol
formal probity
humorous couth
archaic tenue
etiquette, social conventions, social grace(s), social niceties, one's Ps and Qs, protocol, decorum, standards, civilities, ceremony, formalities, rules of conduct, accepted behaviour, conventionalities, good manners, good form, the done thing, the thing to do, punctilio, attention to detail
archaic convenance(s)
1.1 (proprieties) The details or rules of behaviour conventionally considered to be correct: she’s a great one for the proprieties
More example sentences
  • This mismatch between the conventional dramatic proprieties and science fiction's extreme, grotesque, or visionary thematics is known as the ‘squid on the mantelpiece.’
  • In the presence of their representation of the timelessness of the two sexes in their experienced identity, all the proprieties, conventions, ideals and virtues of the court fell into insignificance.
  • Second, Athene's court, for all its pomp and ceremony, procedural proprieties, and ordered speeches does not in the end resolve the conflict: the result is an impasse following an even split between the jurors.
1.2The condition of being right, appropriate, or fitting: they questioned the propriety of certain investments made by the council
More example sentences
  • Again it was clear that what was being put forward related not only to the question of fitness and propriety in the context of the existing licence, but also to the new licence.
  • I want to raise a question about the constitutional propriety of this.
  • That is the forum in which, for example, it is appropriate to debate the propriety of the conduct of a judge.
correctness, rightness, fitness, suitability, suitableness, appropriateness, appropriacy, aptness, morality, ethicality


Late Middle English (in the sense 'peculiarity, essential quality'): from Old French propriete, from Latin proprietas (see property).

Words that rhyme with propriety


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pro¦pri|ety

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