Proprietary vs propitiatory

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Proprietary and propitiatory are two words that are close in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different meanings. They are often confused, though they are derived from two different Latin words. We will examine the definitions of proprietary and propitiatory, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Proprietary relates to the ownership of something, acting as if one owns something, holding and operating something. Proprietary may describe having a brand name under which an item is marketed or sold, involving a trademark or copyright. The word proprietary is used often, especially to mean a brand name item. Words that are synonyms of the word proprietary that may be found in a thesaurus are owned, possessed, held. The word proprietary is derived from the Latin word proprietas, which means owner. Proprietary is an adjective, the adverb form is proprietarily.

Propitiatory describes something offered in conciliation, an action meant to appease someone or something, an attempt to make amends or pacify someone through an act, attitude, or gift. Words that are synonyms of the word propitiatory that may be found in a thesaurus are expiatory, conciliatory, atoning. Today, the word propitiatory is used somewhat more rarely than proprietary. The word propitiatory is derived from the Latin word propitiatorius, which means reconcile. Propitiatory is an adjective, the adverb form is propitiatorily.


Gelesis’ proprietary hydrogels are made from two naturally derived building blocks, modified cellulose cross-linked with citric acid, that create a three-dimensional matrix. (The Hastings Tribune)

In its decision to allow the University of Houston to keep the contracts hidden, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office cited a 2015 Texas Supreme Court case known as Boeing Co. v. Paxton, which expanded what is considered a trade secret, or proprietary information of private companies that government agencies can withhold from the public. (The Texas Tribune)

Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. (NYSE American: CANF) (TASE:CFBI), a biotechnology company advancing a pipeline of proprietary small molecule drugs that address cancer, liver and inflammatory diseases, announced today that it has filed its annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). (AP News)

The practice of the Church has always been to regard the Mass as a distinct or separate oblation (sacrifice) with its own propitiatory character. (The Madison Catholic Herald)

Some 260 figures are represented in the colorful panels that show gods banqueting merrily while humans bring them propitiatory offerings; peasants tending fields and vineyards, and construction workers building a rampart for the city. (Haaretz)