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. 1.1Place (tithes or ecclesiastical property) in lay hands.
      ‘the profits from impropriated tithes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tithes, destined for the upkeep of the parish clergy but often impropriated by monasteries or laymen, took around another 8 per cent on average.’
      • ‘Many tithes had been commuted to cash payments or impropriated by others who then paid the vicar an annual salary.’
      • ‘It has an endowment from impropriated tithes and is still a useful institution, chiefly preparatory for the College.’
      • ‘Nobles and gentlemen also bought the impropriated tithes and advowsons, and so strengthened their hand in parish affairs.’


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