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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle French impropre, from Latin improprius (not proper), from in- + proprius (proper).



improper (comparative more improper, superlative most improper)

  1. unsuitable to needs or circumstances; inappropriate; inapt
  2. Not in keeping with conventional mores or good manners; indecent or immodest
    improper conduct
  3. Not according to facts; inaccurate or erroneous
  4. Not consistent with established facts; incorrect
  5. Not properly named; See, for example, improper fraction
  6. (obsolete) Not specific or appropriate to individuals; general; common.
    • 1608, John Fletcher, The Faithful Shepherdess:
      Not to be adorned with any art but such improper ones as nature is said to bestow, as singing and poetry.
  7. (mathematics) Of a complex random variable, correlated with its conjugate


Derived terms[edit]



improper (third-person singular simple present impropers, present participle impropering, simple past and past participle impropered)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To appropriate; to limit.
    • 1565, John Jewel, letter to Thomas Harding:
      He would in like manner improper and inclose the sunbeams to comfort the rich and not the poor.
  2. (obsolete) To behave improperly

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “improper”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)