Apropos Definition, Meaning, Usage: What Does Apropos Mean?

Apropos Definition

Adj. 1. apropos - of an appropriate or pertinent nature

appropriate - suitable for a particular person or place or condition etc; "a book not appropriate for children"; "a funeral conducted the appropriate solemnity"; "it seems that an apology is appropriate"

malapropos - of an inappropriate or incorrectly applied nature


1. apropos - at an opportune time; "your letter arrived apropos" timely, well-timed, seasonably

2. apropos - introducing a different topic; in point of fact; "incidentally, I won't go to the party"

by the bye, by the way, incidentally


The loanword apropos comes from the French phrase à  propos de, meaning with respect to. In English, apropos is conventionally used as a preposition meaning with regard to, and it’s also used as an adjective for pertinent or to the point. The word is often just a highfalutin way to say about or regarding, but some writers like it.

Apropos is often misused in place of appropriate. This sense of apropos has nothing to do with the original French phrase or the word’s conventional meaning. In such cases, appropriate is a perfectly good replacement. Still, the misuse of apropos is common, so we probably have to accept that the word has changed.

Apropos Examples

Apropos may be used alone or followed by of or to—for example:

So Veronique de Rugy has responded to Nate Silver apropos the matter I discussed yesterday. [Guardian]

Apropos of nothing, we would like to take a moment to remind all period action films that horses do not explode like that. [Geek-o-System]

Apropos is sometimes questionably used as a synonym for appropriate—for example:

Bedford-Stuy Projects Probably Not Most Apropos Place for Prison-Themed Playground [Village Voice]

With April being Earth Month, it is apropos to take a look at what the transportation world holds beyond the current range of hybrids. [Calgary Herald]

How do you use the word apropos in a sentence?

As an adverb, apropos describes an act as a good time to do something; as an adjective, apropos describes something that is connected to a certain situation.

As an adverb: Your letter comes apropos as usual.
As an adjective: I have some apropos comments. As both an adverb and adjective apropos means essentially the same thing. Strangely enough both have two meanings. Pertinent and incidental which are not alike. Also apropos is a preposition.

Apropos – prep. with reference to.  

PHRASES – Apropos of nothing – having no relevance to any previous discussion or situation.

In real life, people often use the word apropos as an adjective, as in this sentence:  

Time is money, as they say, and it was never more apropos than on a television show, where a minute is worth about $200!”

 Dirk Benedict

That is incorrect. But it may be that apropos in adjective form is an acceptable usage, but simply not recognized by the Oxford dictionary.

A correct usage is in this sentence: 

America is a forgiving nation, apropos Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton, Latrell Sprewell and Pee Wee Herman.”

Fraser Seitel

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