AskDefine | Define proprietor

Dictionary Definition

proprietor n : (law) someone who owns (is legal possessor of) a business; "he is the owner of a chain of restaurants" [syn: owner]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin proprietor, from proprietas, property, from ....


  1. An owner
  2. A sole owner of an unincorporated business, also called a sole proprietor
  3. One of the owners of an unincorporated business, a partner



Coordinate terms


an owner
  • Finnish: omistaja
  • Japanese: 所有者, 経営者
  • Kurdish:
    Sorani: خاوه‌ن
a sole owner of an unincorporated business, also called sole proprietor
  • Finnish: omistaja
  • Japanese: 所有者, 経営者
one of the owners of an unincorporated business, a partner




Extensive Definition

The word "proprietary" indicates that a party, or proprietor, exercises private ownership, control or use over an item of property, usually to the exclusion of other parties.
A party may have interests which are similar to proprietary interests in relation to certain types of information (e.g. for a creative literary work, or for computer software), which is the subject of certain laws, including copyright, patents or trademarks. This manner of speech is often used in reference to proprietary software.
Proprietary components are components that are unique to a specific manufacturer, and do not conform to preset standards.

Historical terms

  • A proprietary colonel owed his regimental command not to promotion through the ranks, but to a venal mode of appointment by the crown. The colonelcy of a regiment formerly implied a proprietary right in it. Whether the colonel commanded it directly in the field or not, he always superintended its finance and interior economy; the emoluments of the office in the 18th century were often the only form of pay drawn by general officers. The general officers of the 17th and 18th centuries were invariably colonels of regiments, and in this case the active regimental command was exercised by the lieutenant colonels.
  • In the colonial era, a (notably British) monarch could, as a form of indirect rule, grant proprietary rights to individuals over a proprietary colony, in which the proprietors (sometimes styled Lords Proprietors) were given exclusive control, not just ownership under private law, or to a chartered company.
  • Proprietor was also the secondary title of the self-styled Leaders of the semi-independent proprietary settlement Swains Island (Jennings family, US, 1856-1926) now part of American Samoa
  • A proprietary member is someone whose membership of some institution is a right derived from a specific property, especially real estate. For example, the Swansea Harbour docks and over 20 miles of adjacent railways were owned and administered by a harbour trust of 26 members: the owner of the Briton Ferry estate (Earl Jersey), 4 representing the lord of the seigniory of Gower (the duke of Beaufort), 12 proprietary members and 9 elected annually by the corporation of Swansea.

Sources and references

proprietor in German: Proprietär
proprietor in Swedish: Proprietär

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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