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impropriety

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n impropriety an act of undue intimacy
    • n impropriety an indecent or improper act
    • n impropriety an improper demeanor
    • n impropriety the condition of being improper
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Impropriety That which is improper; an unsuitable or improper act, or an inaccurate use of language. "But every language has likewise its improprieties and absurdities.""Many gross improprieties, however authorized by practice, ought to be discarded."
    • Impropriety The quality of being improper; unfitness or unsuitableness to character, time place, or circumstances; as, impropriety of behavior or manners.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n impropriety The quality of being improper; unfitness or unsuitableness to character, time, place, or circumstances; unseemliness: as, impropriety of language or behavior.
    • n impropriety That which is improper; an erroneous or unsuitable expression, act, etc.
    • n impropriety 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.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. improprietas,; cf. F. impropriété,. See Improper

Usage

In literature:

That he stood while praying was not an impropriety, for the standing attitude was usual in prayer; the publican also stood.
"Jesus the Christ" by James Edward Talmage
The third offense against good use, an impropriety, is the use of a proper word in an improper sense.
"Practical Grammar and Composition" by Thomas Wood
Public and open improprieties were at once frowned down, and people of all grades and classes seemed to make their chief study good taste.
"Four Years in Rebel Capitals" by T. C. DeLeon
If it be so, the impropriety is the work of the smaller spirits who have not been sufficiently overlooked.
"A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I (of II)" by Augustus De Morgan
Some of both sexes had grand voices, that rang like bugles, and the very impropriety of their music made it fascinating.
"Campaigns of a Non-Combatant," by George Alfred Townsend
Truly, it seemeth to me that I might style myself an ass without impropriety.
"Gascoyne, the Sandal-Wood Trader" by R.M. Ballantyne
I would have ended by laughing outright if I had not been saved from that impropriety by poor Fyne becoming preposterous.
"Chance" by Joseph Conrad
The groups of youth in the school and in society, and in business places, seed with improprieties of word and thought.
"Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners" by B.G. Jefferis
These things I know are necessary and I acquit him of any artistic impropriety.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, April 12, 1916" by Various
I have only, in duty to myself, to clear up the charge against me, of impropriety.
"Valerie" by Frederick Marryat
But I know her too well to suspect her of any impropriety.
"Jewel Weed" by Alice Ames Winter
It is true that the liberty of American girls occasionally leads to improprieties.
"The Physical Life of Woman:" by Dr. George H Napheys
Out of this has come the notion of what is obscene, as the extreme of indecency and impropriety.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
The young lieutenant sat down abashed, under the impression that he had betrayed himself into some act of gross impropriety.
"Capitola's Peril" by Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth
Artless impropriety is quite played out.
"The Green Carnation" by Robert Smythe Hichens
There are women, who can invite to easy and pleasant conversation, and yet repel the most trivial impropriety in a gentleman.
"The Young Maiden" by A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey
Madeleine is too reasonable not to see the impropriety (to use a mild word) there would be even in such a suggestion.
"Fairy Fingers" by Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
He introduced landscapes and animals into most of his pictures, sometimes with great impropriety.
"A History of Art for Beginners and Students: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture" by Clara Erskine Clement
I sent Betty downstairs, and explained to Lucy the impropriety of such conduct.
"Forgotten Tales of Long Ago" by E. V. Lucas
We agree with the doctor as to the impropriety of calling a visible dot, a point without dimensions.
"Practical Education, Volume II" by Maria Edgeworth
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In poetry:

Mister Chairman, to resume.
When I look around this room
On the members of this - er - great society,
And consider we've to pay
For these benefits, I say
It's - er - bordering on - um - on impropriety!
"The Logic Of Anti-Sosh" by C J Dennis

In news:

The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into claims by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) that it was tricked by "serious accounting improprieties" into overpaying billions of dollars for a British software firm.
HP Earnings Take Big Hit From Alleged "Accounting Improprieties" at Autonomy .
Contracting "improprieties" mean taxi riders will keep waiting for credit-card readers.
If public corruption, wrongdoing, impropriety – any of it – were to rear up and bite Carlos Alvarez on the hiney, or slap him upside his face, it is disappointingly doubtful he'd ever know what bit him or hit him.
Cumberland County sheriff's detectives are investigating complaints alleging undisclosed improprieties in a county-funded pilot bus project in the Cedar Creek area, the chief deputy said.
Report accused DC Councilman Graham of impropriety.
Ethics committee to prepare charges against assemblyman for 'appearance of impropriety'.
Photo courtesy of Scott Rumana The New Jersey Legislature's ethics committee has voted to draw up charges against Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-Passaic) for the 'appearance of impropriety'.
Doheny, Fiancee Reject Gawker Report Of 'Impropriety.
Former SEC inspector general challenges allegations of bias, sexual improprieties.
Hewlett-Packard says $10 billion purchase was inflated by 'improprieties'.
Auburn's Jovon Robinson held out of practice following report of academic impropriety.
Attorney General Anne Milgram plans to file a lawsuit today against Stevens Institute of Technology, charging the school with fiscal impropriety and seeking to remove its top two leaders, a spokesman for her office said tonight.
Special plates for judges and other public officials are, for the most part, unnecessary, and have the taint of impropriety.
Kwame Brown is just the latest DC political figure to make headlines amid accusations of improprieties.
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In science:

Rubin-Delanchy, “On testing for impropriety of complex-valued Gaussian vectors,” IEEE Trans.
Locally Most Powerful Invariant Tests for Correlation and Sphericity of Gaussian Vectors
While there are clear signs of statistical impropriety in many of the papers, I only know the details from personal communications with exoplanet transit scientists.
Bayesian astrostatistics: a backward look to the future
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