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pro•pri•e•ty(prəˈpraɪ ɪ ti)
n., pl. -ties.
See Also: MANNERS
- About as risqué as a bed in a hospital —George Jean Nathan
- All wrong … like a priest for whom one has a great respect suddenly taking his trousers off in church —Daphne du Maurier
- Decorously as an old maid on the way to get her hair dyed blue —A. E. Maxwell
- Improper as thumbing your nose at the pope —Anon
- Prim as Hippolytus —Stevie Smith
- (Girls, at sixteen, for all our strictures, are) proper as Puritans —Phyllis McGinley
- Proper like the hostesses in restaurants frequented by women shoppers —Ludwig Bemelmans
(See also PRUDISHNESS.)
according to Cocker By the book; in strict accordance with the rules; proper, correct. This British expression comes from the name of Edward Cocker (1631-75), arithmetician and author of several books including a well-known Arithmetick, viewed by many as the last word on correctness. Despite the work’s popularity and authoritativeness, it is thought to have been a forgery.
according to Gunter This is the American answer to the British expression according to Cocker. In use as early as 1713, it was taken from the name of Edmund Gunter (1581–1626), famed English mathematician, astronomer, and inventor. Apparently neither the British expression nor its American equivalent is very well known on the opposite side of the ocean.
The average American may not know what we mean by according to Cocker; while the average Englishman may be unaware of the meaning of according to Gunter. (G. A. Sala, Illustrated London News, November 24, 1883)
according to Hoyle By the book; in strict accordance with standard usage or rules; absolutely correct. A close synonym of according to Cocker and according to Gunter, this expression derives from the name of Edmond Hoyle, an 18th-century English writer. Hoyle was one of the first experts on the card game whist, which he spent several years teaching, and he did much to improve the game. His A Short Treatise on Whist, published in 1743, established him once and for all as the leading authority on the rules of the game. He was later to put together a whole encyclopedia of the rules of numerous other games. By extension his name has come to mean ‘by the rules; correct.’
cricket Fair play, gentlemanly behavior, honorable conduct; especially in the phrase not cricket ‘unfair, not proper, ungentlemanly.’ Cricket is a popular British sport whose name has become synonymous with fair play because of the honorable and proper conduct expected from players of this game. The term dates from 1851.
keep one’s nose clean To behave properly or appropriately, to keep out of trouble, to maintain a spotless record. This expression, which dates from at least 1887, is thought to have a vulgar origin.
Do what people tell you, keep your nose clean and work out your academic progress. (Neil Armstrong et al., First on the Moon, 1970)
mind one’s p’s and q’s To act or speak in a proper and dignified manner; to be on one’s best behavior; to mind one’s own business. There are several suggested derivations of this expression, the most likely of which alludes to a child’s difficulty in distinguishing the letter “p” from the letter “q” because of their similar appearance. One source suggests that the expression may have been originated by King Louis XIV of France who advised his formally dressed noblemen that they could avoid disturbing their ornate attire by minding their pieds ‘feet’ and queues ‘wigs.’ Another source postulates that barkeeps may have said, “Mind your p’s and q’s!” to remind an alehouse patron that he had chalked up a large bill by ordering pints (p’s) and quarts (q’s) on credit.
He minds his P’s and Q’s—and keeps himself respectable. (William S. Gilbert, Utopia Limited, 1893)
put one’s best foot forward To make a good impression, to show one-self off to advantage. This grammatically puzzling expression may have developed by merger of its earlier form best side outward with the expression get off on the right foot (BEGINNINGS).
A conceited man, and one that would put the best side outward. (Samuel Pepys, Diary, 1663)
stick to one’s last To keep to the field of one’s prowess; not to meddle in affairs of which one is ignorant. In this expression, last refers to a foot model with which shoes are shaped. According to ancient legend, Apelles, a famous Greek artist, showed one of his paintings to a cobbler, who immediately detected an error in the artist’s rendering of a laced shoe. After the artist corrected this flaw, the shoemaker overstepped himself by criticizing the artist’s depiction of the legs. Apelles is purported to have replied “stick to your last.” This legend is supported by the fact that the expression was originally a cobbler should stick to his last before it evolved its current form. The phrase’s figurative sense was illustrated by Thomas Barbour, as cited in Webster’s Third:
Curators … shirk any responsibility for exhibits and … want to stick to their lasts in the research collections.
|Noun||1.||propriety - correct or appropriate behavior|
demeanor, demeanour, deportment, behaviour, conduct, behavior - (behavioral attributes) the way a person behaves toward other people
correctness - the quality of conformity to social expectations
good form - behavior that conforms to social conventions of the time; "it is not good form to brag about winning"
seemliness, grace - a sense of propriety and consideration for others; "a place where the company of others must be accepted with good grace"
decency - the quality of conforming to standards of propriety and morality
decorum indecency, vulgarity, bad manners, bad form, immodesty, indelicacy, impoliteness, indecorum