American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The quality or condition of being improper.
- n. An improper act.
- n. An improper or unacceptable usage in speech or writing.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The quality of being improper; unfitness or unsuitableness to character, time, place, or circumstances; unseemliness: as, impropriety of language or behavior.
- n. That which is improper; an erroneous or unsuitable expression, act, etc.
- n. Synonyms Indelicacy, unseemliness. Mistake, blunder, slip.—Barbarism, Solecism, Impropriety. In treatises on rhetorical style these words have distinct meanings. “Purity … implies three things. Accordingly in three different ways it may be injured. First, the words used may not be English. This fault hath received from grammarians the denomination of barbarism. Secondly, the construction of the sentence may not be in the English idiom. This hath gotten the name of solecism. Thirdly, the words and phrases may not be employed to express the precise meaning which custom hath affixed to them. This is termed impropriety.” (G. Campbell, Philos. of Rhetoric, ii. 3, Pref.) “In the forms of words, a violation of purity is a barbarism; in the constructions, a violation of purity is a solecism; in the meanings of words and Phrases, a violation of purity is an impropriety.” (A. Phelps, Eng. Style, i.) Examples of barbarisms in English are heft, pled, proven, systemize; of solecism, “Who did you see?” of improprieties, “There let him lay” (Byron, Childe Harold, iv. 180), and the use of enormity for enormousness, or of exceptionable for exceptional.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The quality of being improper; unfitness or unsuitableness to character, time place, or circumstances.
- n. That which is improper; an unsuitable or improper act, or an inaccurate use of language.
- n. an improper demeanor
- n. an act of undue intimacy
- n. the condition of being improper
- n. an indecent or improper act
“Madame Jansoulet alone, newly landed in France with a stock of Oriental ideas impeding circulation in her mind, as her nargileh, her ostrich eggs and all the rest of her Tunisian trash impeded it in her apartments, protested against what she called impropriety, cowardice, and declared that she would never step foot inside "that creature's" doors.”
“Preventing the appearance of impropriety is important to help preserve whatever legitimacy you believe the Supreme Court still has.”
“Quite how he has managed to rise to power without acquiring the right antennae to spot this obvious impropriety is a matter for surmise but in the modern climate in which politicians find themselves, a general slackening of standards comes as no surprise.”
“The appearance of impropriety is every bit as bad as the impropriety itself.”
“Then I suppose there must have been what you call impropriety of conduct.”
“If there’s impropriety from a justice’s spouse arguing for particular policy results through political means, that same impropriety would carry over to legalmeans.”
“And you know, he is running around the world creating, you know, the appearance, at minimum, of impropriety, which is a standard of ...”
“And assuming that he is not guilty -- but he is guilty of the things that we just heard about, that is, the impropriety of the relationship -- then I still think it might have been smarter to make this the local answer.”
“A kind of sick feeling renders her speechless; she had never thought of that -- of -- of the idea of impropriety being suggested as part of this most unlucky escapade.”
“This impropriety, which is beyond a literary joke, was reprobated some months since by the _Quarterly Review_, but here the offending parties are properly visited with a burst of honest indignation which may not pass unheeded.”
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