Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not suited to circumstances or needs; unsuitable: improper shoes for a hike; improper medical treatment.
  • adj. Not in keeping with conventional mores; indecorous: improper behavior.
  • adj. Not consistent with established truth, fact, or rule; incorrect.
  • adj. Irregular or abnormal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. unsuitable to needs or circumstances; inappropriate; inapt
  • adj. Not in keeping with conventional mores or good manners; indecent or immodest
  • adj. Not according to facts; inaccurate or erroneous
  • adj. Not consistent with established facts; incorrect
  • adj. Not properly named; See, for example, improper fraction
  • v. To appropriate; to limit.
  • v. To behave improperly

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not proper; not suitable; not fitted to the circumstances, design, or end; unfit; not becoming; incongruous; inappropriate; indecent
  • adj. Not peculiar or appropriate to individuals; general; common.
  • adj. Not according to facts; inaccurate; erroneous.
  • transitive v. To appropriate; to limit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not proper or peculiar to any individual; general; common.
  • Not of a proper kind or quality; not adapted to or suitable for the purpose or the circumstances; unfit; unbecoming; indecorous: as, an improper medicine; an improper appointment; improper conduct or language.
  • Not proper in form or method; not according to nature, truth, rule, or usage; abnormal; irregular; erroneous: as, improper development; improper fractions; improper pronunciation; an improper use of words.
  • To impropriate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not suitable or right or appropriate
  • adj. not appropriate for a purpose or occasion
  • adj. not conforming to legality, moral law, or social convention

Etymologies

From Latin improprius ("not proper"), from in- + proprius ("proper"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The sudden opening of the door aroused them to a sense of their improper situation; for who but must consider it _improper_ to find a young lady locked in the arms of a gentleman to whom she had just been introduced?

    Alonzo and Melissa The Unfeeling Father

  • In a tearful news conference, Kosako said he could not stay and allow the government to set what he called improper radiation limits of 20 millisieverts a year for elementary schools in areas near the plant.

    Criticism up on Japan PM's handling of nuke crisis

  • Quantity and Quality, which are proper and intrinsic, and those in the other six categories, excluding Relation, which he calls improper and extrinsic.

    Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

  • "They are what you call improper, eh?" she laughed, referring to the tales.

    The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne : a Novel

  • On Friday night, many marched to Police Headquarters to criticize what they described as the improper tactics that the police had used against their movement.

    NYT > Home Page

  • On Friday night, many marched to Police Headquarters to criticize what they described as the improper tactics police used.

    The Seattle Times

  • Government watchdogs in Harrisburg denounced what they called improper use of state resources and complained that the governor last week called the DUI arrest a personal matter.

    The Goalkeeper

  • Attorneys for the second man charged with a deadly Connecticut home invasion want the location for his trial changed, citing prejudicial publicity from the first trial, and want the judge handling the case removed for what they call improper comments.

    ABC News: Top Stories

  • In September, federal prosecutors hit Pfizer with $2.3 billion in fines over what they called the improper promotion of drugs _ including painkiller Bextra and the schizophrenia medicine Geodon _ that included plying doctors with free golf, massages, and resort junkets.

    phillyBurbs.com: Home RSS feed

  • Federal prosecutors in September hit Pfizer with $2.3 billion in fines for what they called improper drug promotions that plied doctors with free golf, massages and resort junkets.

    phillyBurbs.com: Home RSS feed

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