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From Middle English appropriaten, borrowed from Latin appropriatus, past participle of approprio (to make one's own), from ad (to) + proprio (to make one's own), from proprius (one's own, private).


  • (Received Pronunciation) enPR: əprō'priĭt, əprō'priət, IPA(key): /əˈpɹəʊ.pɹiː.ɪt/, /əˈpɹəʊ.pɹiː.ət/
  • (US) enPR: əprō'priĭt, əprō'priət, IPA(key): /əˈpɹoʊ.pɹi.ɪt/, /əˈpɹoʊ.pɹi.ət/
  • (file)


appropriate (comparative more appropriate, superlative most appropriate)

  1. (obsolete) Set apart for a particular use or person; reserved.
  2. suitable or fit; proper.
    The headmaster wondered what an appropriate measure would be to make the pupil behave better.
    • (Can we date this quote by Beilby Porteus?)
      in its strict and appropriate meaning
    • (Can we date this quote by Edward Stillingfleet?)
      appropriate acts of divine worship
    • (Can we date this quote by John Locke?)
      It is not at all times easy to find words appropriate to express our ideas.
  3. Suitable to the social situation or to social respect or social discreetness; socially correct; socially discreet; well-mannered; proper.
    I don't think it was appropriate for the cashier to tell me out loud in front of all those people at the check-out that my hair-piece looked like it was falling out of place.
    While it is not considered appropriate for a professor to date his student, there is no such concern once the semester has ended.
    • 2011 November 10, Jeremy Wilson, “England Under 21 5 Iceland Under 21 0: match report”, in Telegraph[1]:
      With such focus from within the footballing community this week on Remembrance Sunday, there was something appropriate about Colchester being the venue for last night’s game. Troops from the garrison town formed a guard of honour for both sets of players, who emerged for the national anthem with poppies proudly stitched into their tracksuit jackets.




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appropriate (third-person singular simple present appropriates, present participle appropriating, simple past and past participle appropriated)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To make suitable; to suit.
Quote-alpha.png This entry needs quotations to illustrate usage. If you come across any interesting, durably archived quotes then please add them!
Particularly: “William Paley”
  1. (transitive) To take to oneself; to claim or use, especially as by an exclusive right.
    Let no man appropriate the use of a common benefit.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      We made an odd party before the arrival of the Ten, particularly when the Celebrity dropped in for lunch or dinner. He could not be induced to remain permanently at Mohair because Miss Trevor was at Asquith, but he appropriated a Hempstead cart from the Mohair stables and made the trip sometimes twice in a day.
  2. (transitive) To set apart for, or assign to, a particular person or use, especially in exclusion of all others; with to or for.
    A spot of ground is appropriated for a garden.
    to appropriate money for the increase of the navy
    • 2012, The Washington Post, David Nakamura and Tom Hamburger, Put armed police in every school, NRA urges
      “I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation,” LaPierre said.
  3. (transitive, Britain, ecclesiastical, law) To annex (for example a benefice, to a spiritual corporation, as its property).
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Blackstone to this entry?)

Further reading[edit]



appropriate f pl

  1. feminine plural of appropriato