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adjective prop·er \ˈprä-pər\

Simple Definition of proper

  • : correct according to social or moral rules

  • : behaving in a way that is correct according to social or moral rules

  • : exactly correct

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of proper

  1. 1 a :  referring to one individual only b :  belonging to one :  own c :  appointed for the liturgy of a particular day d :  represented heraldically in natural color

  2. 2 :  belonging characteristically to a species or individual :  peculiar

  3. 3 chiefly dialect :  good-looking, handsome

  4. 4 :  very good :  excellent

  5. 5 chiefly British :  utter, absolute

  6. 6 :  strictly limited to a specified thing, place, or idea <the city proper>

  7. 7 a :  strictly accurate :  correct b archaic :  virtuous, respectable c :  strictly decorous :  genteel

  8. 8 :  marked by suitability, rightness, or appropriateness :  fit

  9. 9 :  being a mathematical subset (as a subgroup) that does not contain all the elements of the inclusive set from which it is derived





Examples of proper in a sentence

  1. It is not proper to speak that way.

  2. The children need to learn proper behavior.

  3. It would not be proper for you to borrow the ladder without asking first.

  4. She is a very prim and proper young lady.

  5. Is this the proper spelling of your name?

  6. You need to eat a proper meal instead of junk food.

  7. Each step must be done in the proper order.

Origin and Etymology of proper

Middle English propre proper, own, from Anglo-French, from Latin proprius own

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of proper

fit, suitable, meet, proper, appropriate, fitting, apt, happy, felicitous mean right with respect to some end, need, use, or circumstance. fit stresses adaptability and sometimes special readiness for use or action <fit for battle>. suitable implies an answering to requirements or demands <clothes suitable for camping>. meet suggests a just proportioning <meet payment>. proper suggests a suitability through essential nature or accordance with custom <proper acknowledgement>. appropriate implies eminent or distinctive fitness <an appropriate gift>. fitting implies harmony of mood or tone <a fitting end>. apt connotes a fitness marked by nicety and discrimination <apt quotations>. happy suggests what is effectively or successfully appropriate <a happy choice of words>. felicitous suggests an aptness that is opportune, telling, or graceful <a felicitous phrase>.



noun prop·er

Definition of proper

  1. 1 :  the parts of the Mass that vary according to the liturgical calendar

  2. 2 :  the part of a missal or breviary containing the proper of the Mass and the offices proper to the holy days of the liturgical year

15th Century

First Known Use of proper

15th century



adverb prop·er

Simple Definition of proper

  • : in a complete way

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of proper

chiefly dialect

  1. :  in a thorough manner :  completely

Examples of proper in a sentence

  1. They beat us good and proper.

15th Century

First Known Use of proper

15th century

PROPER Defined for Kids


adjective prop·er \ˈprä-pər\

Definition of proper for Students

  1. 1 :  correct according to social or moral rules <proper behavior>

  2. 2 :  1appropriate, suitable <Use the proper tool for the job.>

  3. 3 :  strictly accurate :  correct <“… do everything in the proper order … and I'm sure all will be well.” — E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan>

  4. 4 :  referring to one individual only <a proper name>

  5. 5 :  considered in its true or basic meaning <Her family lived outside the city proper.>

Law Dictionary


adjective prop·er

Legal Definition of proper

  1. :  marked by fitness or correctness; especially :  being in accordance with established procedure, law, jurisdiction, or standards of care, fairness, and justice <argued that the shareholder was acting in bad faith and lacked a proper purpose for examining its records>



Seen and Heard

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a dwelling place or home

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