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From French impropriété, from Latin improprietās. By surface analysis, improper +‎ -ity or in- +‎ propriety.


  • IPA(key): /ˌɪm.prəˈpraɪ.ɪ.ti/
  • (file)


impropriety (countable and uncountable, plural improprieties)

  1. (uncountable) The condition of being improper.
    • 1842, [anonymous collaborator of Letitia Elizabeth Landon], “(please specify the page)”, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 1000392275, pages 295–296:
      If so many ladies of rank wrote books, there could be no impropriety in her following their example,...
    • 2003, Gary Koop, Bayesian Econometrics (John Wiley & Sons Ltd.), p. 23
      To see the impropriety of this noninformative prior, note that the posterior results (2.19)–(2.22) can be justified by as [sic] combining the likelihood function with the following ‘prior density’: […]
  2. (countable) An improper act.
    • 1978, Nixon, Richard, RN: the Memoirs of Richard Nixon[1], Grosset & Dunlap, →ISBN, LCCN 77-87793, OCLC 760525066, OL 7561812M, page 421:
      Bayh and his supporters ended up maintaining that it was no longer sufficient that a nominee had not engaged in any impropriety; now there must be no "appearance" of impropriety. Thus opponents of a nominee could raise an "appearance" of impropriety by false charges and thereby defeat him. It was a vicious circle: the nominee would not be condemned for what he had done but for what he had been accused of having done by his detractors.
  3. Improper language.