English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This sentence

This x is a proprietary idea from John Doe.

is used, as you might expect, to indicate that descriptions of x should not be shared without just cause.

However, I want to change the sentence to indicate that it is our idea to keep the idea close, and that Mr. Doe isn't even expecting us to take this measure.

Can you suggest any short modification to this sentence that would not be confusing, and not be long. A word that says 'effected without request', 'on our own occord'.

I hope I am not too far off topic. I ask this because I have a hunch that there is a really cool way to say it that I hadn't thought of.

Edit: My current solution: Thanks, I couldn't think up that word for some reason.

We are voluntarily keeping this x proprietary for Mr. Doe.

I expect the audience will understand it unambiguously.

The only thing remaining is that it doesn't clarify that Mr. Doe is unaware we are doing this for him. This is a minor imperfection, but I welcome suggestions.

share|improve this question
You're question isn't very clear. I don't really understand what you're asking. Do you want a word for "on our own accord"? – Kaiser Octavius Jun 21 '13 at 20:04
I second that notion as does Nate Eldridge whom I believe I can speak for after almost coming to blows over our differing interpretations of the Title/question LOL (jjk) – Charlie Brown Jun 22 '13 at 20:45
@KaiserOctavius, Yes, that is what I was looking for. Also it would be better yet if it indicated that not only did Mr. Doe not mention it, but we didn't mention it to him / he doen't even know we are doing it. – musicwithoutpaper Jun 23 '13 at 1:59
@musicwithoutpaper: Just as a formality, then, I shall tell you that I like Nate Eldredge's answer best. – Kaiser Octavius Jun 23 '13 at 2:05
Ah, I did miss that. In that case the phrase "taking the liberty of <doing something>" comes to mind, but that's much longer than what you have. – Kaiser Octavius Jun 23 '13 at 2:07
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Perhaps you want the word voluntarily? It's the adverb form of voluntary, for which Merriam-Webster gives the definition:

7: acting or done of one's own free will without valuable consideration or legal obligation

You could then say: We are voluntarily keeping Mr. Doe's idea confidential.

share|improve this answer
well done. You were correct, I had not read the question thoroughly enough. I appreciate the apology. Is there a civility badge for you or something;-) – Charlie Brown Jun 26 '13 at 8:42

There is a Latin phrase, sua sponte, that is used extensively in law meaning

1.(law) on its own initiative

I have not seen it used in non-legal writing.

Perhaps simply on our own initiative?

share|improve this answer
  • Original concept
  • Long-gestated plan
  • conceptualized scheme
  • Conceived theory
    or any combination of the above depending on what it is pertaining to.
    Anything that would refer to the person creating in their own head; this idea would seemingly "leave it to one's own accord"

FYI - My attempt to answer this question was based on my interpretation that the person was looking for something that would fit in place of X and to make clear that it was one's own creation.

share|improve this answer
I've deleted my previous comment; it was rude and I apologize. My reading of the question was that the asker was interested in expressing the notion that something was done "of our own accord". I didn't see that they wanted synonyms for the phrase "proprietary idea"; that was merely part of their example sentence. (And your suggestions happen not to be to my personal taste, but that is neither here nor there.) I agree the question is not completely clear and I hope the asker will clarify it. – Nate Eldredge Jun 22 '13 at 12:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.