1. belonging to a proprietor.
  2. being a proprietor; holding property: the proprietary class.
  3. pertaining to property or ownership: proprietary wealth.
  4. belonging or controlled as property.
  5. (of a brand name, product, service, formula, etc.) protected by a patent, copyright, or trademark: proprietary drugs; a proprietary name; a proprietary logo; a proprietary blend of ingredients.
  6. privately owned and operated for profit: proprietary hospitals.

noun, plural pro·pri·e·tar·ies.

  1. an owner or proprietor.
  2. a body of proprietors.
  3. American History. the grantee or owner, or one of the grantees or owners, of a proprietary colony.
  4. ownership.
  5. something owned, especially real estate.
  6. a proprietary medicine.
  7. Also called proprietary school. a school organized as a profit-making venture primarily to teach vocational skills or self-improvement techniques.


  1. of, relating to, or belonging to property or proprietors
  2. privately owned and controlled
  3. med of or denoting a drug or agent manufactured and distributed under a trade nameCompare ethical (def. 3)

noun plural -taries

  1. med a proprietary drug or agent
  2. a proprietor or proprietors collectively
    1. right to property
    2. property owned
  3. Also called: lord proprietary (in Colonial America) an owner, governor, or grantee of a proprietary colony

adj.mid-15c., “possessing worldly goods in excess of a cleric’s needs,” from Medieval Latin proprietarius “owner of property,” noun use of Late Latin adjective proprietarius “of a property holder,” from Latin proprietas “owner” (see property). Meaning “held in private ownership” is first attested 1580s. The word was used earlier in English as a noun meaning “proprietor,” also “worldly person” (c.1400), from a noun use in French and Medieval Latin. adj.

  1. Exclusively owned, as of a hospital.
  2. Owned by an individual or corporation under a trademark or patent, as of a drug.


  1. A proprietary medicine.

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