Definition of impropriate in English:



[with object]usually as adjective impropriated
  • 1Grant (an ecclesiastical benefice) to a corporation or person as their property.

    ‘the estates were transferred to the Crown in exchange for a few impropriated rectories’
    • ‘The rectory of St. Julian was impropriated to Carrow, and the anchorage was inhabited by recluses after Juliana's time.’
    • ‘The rectory continued, usually as a sinecure, until it was impropriated in 1546 to Christ Church, Oxford, and soon afterwards to the secular lords of Sudbury manor.’
    • ‘Hereafter, the church was successively impropriated by Down-to-South Cadre Training Team, Nenjiang Provincial Committee CCP Party School and Beiman Construction Engineering Company, etc.’
    1. 1.1 Place (tithes or ecclesiastical property) in lay hands.
      ‘the profits from impropriated tithes’
      • ‘It has an endowment from impropriated tithes and is still a useful institution, chiefly preparatory for the College.’
      • ‘Many tithes had been commuted to cash payments or impropriated by others who then paid the vicar an annual salary.’
      • ‘Nobles and gentlemen also bought the impropriated tithes and advowsons, and so strengthened their hand in parish affairs.’
      • ‘Tithes, destined for the upkeep of the parish clergy but often impropriated by monasteries or laymen, took around another 8 per cent on average.’
      • ‘Although lands owned by educational institutions were at first exempted from nationalization, other sources of support, such as impropriated tithes and standard donations from chapters and monasteries, dried up.’


Early 16th century: from Anglo-Latin impropriat- ‘appropriated’, from the verb impropriare, based on Latin proprius ‘one's own, proper’.