c. 1300, properte, "nature, quality, distinctive character always present in an individual or class," later "possession, land or goods owned, things subject to ownership" (early 14c., but this sense is rare before 17c.), from an Anglo-French modification of Old French proprete, "individuality, peculiarity; property" (12c., Modern French propreté) and directly from Latin proprietatem (nominative proprietas) "ownership, a property, propriety, quality," literally "special character" (a loan-translation of Greek idioma), noun of quality from proprius "one's own, special" (see proper). Compare propriety, which is another form of the same French word.
For "possessions, private property" Middle English sometimes used proper goods. Hot property "sensation, a success" is from 1947 in stories in Billboard magazine.
Sense of "characterized by a high degree of intellect" is from 1819. Meaning "appealing to or engaging the mental powers" is from 1834. Intellectual property "products of the intellect" is attested from 1845. Adjective formations in the sense "of or pertaining to the intellect" included intellective (early 15c.), intellectile (1670s).
mid-15c., of clerics, "possessing worldly goods in excess of needs," from Medieval Latin proprietarius "owner of property," noun use of Late Latin adjective proprietarius "of a property holder," from Latin proprietas "ownership; a property" (see property). Meaning "held in private ownership, belonging to an owner" is attested from 1580s.