1

proper

adjective prop·er \ ˈprä-pər \

Definition of proper

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 :belonging characteristically to a species or individual :peculiar
3 chiefly dialectal :good-looking, handsome
4 :very good :excellent
5 chiefly British :utter, absolute
6 :strictly limited to a specified thing, place, or idea
  • the city proper
7 a :strictly accurate :correct
b archaic :virtuous, respectable
c :strictly decorous :genteel
8 :marked by suitability, rightness, or appropriateness :fit
9 :being a mathematical subset (such as a subgroup) that does not contain all the elements of the inclusive set from which it is derived

properly

adverb

properness

noun

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.

Recent Examples of proper from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of proper

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

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

2

proper

noun

Definition of proper

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

Recent Examples of proper from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of proper

15th century


3

proper

adverb

Definition of proper

chiefly dialectal
:in a thorough manner :completely

Examples of proper in a Sentence

  1. They beat us good and proper.

Recent Examples of proper from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of proper

15th century



PROPER Defined for English Language Learners

proper

adjective

Definition of proper for English Language Learners

  • : correct according to social or moral rules

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

  • : exactly correct


proper

adverb

Definition of proper for English Language Learners

  • : in a complete way


PROPER Defined for Kids

proper

adjective prop·er \ ˈprä-pər \

Definition of proper for Students

1 :correct according to social or moral rules
  • proper behavior
2 :1appropriate, suitable
  • Use the proper tool for the job.
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 :referring to one individual only
  • a proper name
5 :considered in its true or basic meaning
  • Her family lived outside the city proper.

Law Dictionary

proper

adjective prop·er

legal Definition of proper

: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

properly

adverb


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