propriety
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /pɹəˈpɹaɪəti/

Noun

propriety

  1. (obsolete) The particular character or essence of someone or something; individuality. [15th-20th c.]
  2. (obsolete) A characteristic; an attribute. [15th-20th c.]
  3. (now rare) A piece of land owned by someone; someone's property. [from 16th c.]
  4. (obsolete) More generally, something owned by someone; a possession. [16th-19th c.]
    • 1723, Charles Walker, Memoirs of the Life of Sally Salisbury:
      I was fearful of giving You a very sensible Disgust, in making You seem the Propriety of one Man, when You know Yourself ordained for the Comfort and Refreshment of Multitudes.
  5. The fact of possessing something; ownership. [from 16th c.]
  6. (now rare) Correct language or pronunciation. [from 17th c.]
  7. Suitability, fitness; the quality of being appropriate. [from 18th c.]
    • 1773, Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer
      I find such a pleasure, sir, in obeying your commands, that I take care to observe them without ever debating their propriety.
    • 1850, Edward Ralph May, "Speech on African American Suffrage"
      Now, if we may, with propriety, refer to the people one question, why may we not, with equal propriety, refer another?
  8. (often, in the plural) Correctness in behaviour and morals; good manners, seemliness. [from 19th c.]
    • 1811, Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 12:
      Elinor then ventured to doubt the propriety of her receiving such a present from a man so little, or at least so lately known to her.
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