proper

adjective
prop·​er | \ ˈprä-pər How to pronounce proper (audio) \

Definition of proper

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
7a : 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

proper

noun

Definition of proper (Entry 2 of 3)

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

proper

adverb

Definition of proper (Entry 3 of 3)

chiefly dialectal
: in a thorough manner : completely

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Other Words from proper

Adjective

properness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for proper

Adjective

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

Examples of proper in a Sentence

Adjective It is not proper to speak that way. The children need to learn proper behavior. It would not be proper for you to borrow the ladder without asking first. She is a very prim and proper young lady. Is this the proper spelling of your name? You need to eat a proper meal instead of junk food. Each step must be done in the proper order. Adverb They beat us good and proper.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Boyce says that proper cuticle care is vital for keeping your nails healthy. Samantha Driscoll, Better Homes & Gardens, "Cuticle Oil is the Key to Keeping My Nails Healthy and Hydrated," 28 Apr. 2021 But the fear of not being able to provide proper care, training and exercise may keep some seniors from experiencing the joy of dog ownership. Star Tribune, "Choosing the right dog for your age," 23 Apr. 2021 Russian authorities have insisted Navalny's treatment was adequate and the Kremlin had rebuffed Western demands that he be released and be given access to proper medical care. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, "Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny ends hunger strike," 23 Apr. 2021 But because Hatzalah has an all-male local E.M.T. force, Orthodox women — who might want to preserve their modesty, even in medical emergencies — have not always been able to get proper medical care. New York Times, "They Told Her Women Couldn’t Join the Ambulance Corps. So She Started Her Own.," 19 Apr. 2021 His friends and colleagues say that the Russian government is denying him proper care to make a statement. Madeline Roache, Time, "'The Putin Regime Is Trying to Kill Him.' Alexei Navalny's Ailing Health Is Worrying the World," 19 Apr. 2021 The 44-year-old Navalny is 21 days into a hunger strike, demanding access to proper medical care at his expense. Washington Post, "Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny moved to prison hospital amid concerns for his failing health," 19 Apr. 2021 Taking proper care of one’s body through healthy foods, exercise, meditation or prayer, and lots of sleep, love and laughter, is always a good idea. cleveland, "Dear Annie: Should I tell my wife I cheated on her?," 12 Apr. 2021 Taking proper care of one’s body through healthy foods, exercise, meditation or prayer, and lots of sleep, love and laughter, is always a good idea. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Cheater wonders if he should tell his wife. Annie wonders why he’d want to," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The production proper has an ill-sorted feel to it. Terry Teachout, WSJ, "‘Julius Caesar’ Review: Not to Praise It," 11 Mar. 2021 It is also not known how many people have been found to be infected with the coronavirus at the base, which is separated from Cuba proper by a minefield. New York Times, "U.S. to Begin Offering Vaccines to Detainees at Guantánamo Bay," 19 Apr. 2021 During the Texas Arctic Blast of February 15, no power was lost in Pittsburg proper. Candace Evans, Forbes, "Former Palace Of Texas Chicken Tycoon Returns To Market As Exurb Resurgence Boosts East Texas Real Estate," 16 Apr. 2021 The festival proper opens April 17 at 10 a.m. with the help of USC’s President Carol L. Folt, featuring surprise appearances by Times writers and a performance by the USC Trojan Marching Band. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Times Book Prizes and Festival of Books kick off this week. Here’s how to watch," 16 Apr. 2021 But there’s not enough of that kind of thing once the story proper gets going. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "‘Yes Day’ is good at being bad," 12 Mar. 2021 But there’s not enough of that kind of thing once the story proper gets going. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "‘Yes Day’ is good at being bad," 12 Mar. 2021 Officially, Instagram proper is only for people who are 13 and older, but there is no strict age verification, and many younger kids have their own accounts, often with their parents’ permission. Washington Post, "Instagram is making a kids’ app. Here’s what parents need to know about social media Jr.," 24 Mar. 2021 Officially, Instagram proper is only for people who are 13 and older, but there is no strict age verification, and many younger kids have their own accounts, often with their parents’ permission. Heather Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Instagram is making an app for preteens. Here’s what parents need to know about social media Jr.," 24 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Another safety consideration has to do with injury risk: Wearing proper-fitting shoes can help prevent injury, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, "12 Benefits of Walking That Will Make You Want to Lace Up," 25 Dec. 2020 Just as there’s something to be said for proper-fitting women’s flannels, there’s also something to be said for a good pair of men’s camp pants. Ben Romans, Outdoor Life, "The 2020 Camping Gear Gift Guide," 26 Nov. 2020 The port proper is connected to Market Three by a narrow cement path that wends between an overgrown empty lot known as the Mountain, a permanent black puddle the size of a swimming pool, and the port’s 20-foot-high outside wall. Aurora Almendral, New York Times, "In Slum at Epicenter of Duterte’s Drug Crackdown, Fear and Love Coexist," 2 Apr. 2020 The carriage house proper boasted a livery room and space for six large equipages. John Freeman Gill, New York Times, "The Many Lives of a Carriage House," 25 Oct. 2019 Big red signs warn them of the danger to their lives at the checkpoints that divide Israel proper from the Palestinian territories. Batya Ungar-sargon, The New York Review of Books, "A Palestinian in Israeli Military Court: Issa Amro, the Judge, & Me," 17 June 2019 Around the globe the Jetta will be a lot of somebodies’ first proper, grown-up automobile—a chapter-of-life choice, a fork in the road. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Volkswagen Jetta: Return of the Great Cheap Car," 10 Aug. 2018 Additionally, families can opt for grander accommodations than the lodge proper by renting from Spruce Peaks’ pool of private residences and mountain cabins. Paul Rubio, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Go This Winter," 1 Dec. 2017 Many people know Miami proper, especially South Beach, but there’s more to Miami than tanned skin and toned physiques. Danielle Young, The Root, "Meet the Mayor of Miami Gardens, Fla., One of the Largest Black-Run Cities in the Country," 2 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of proper

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for proper

Adjective

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

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Time Traveler for proper

Time Traveler

The first known use of proper was in the 14th century

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Statistics for proper

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Proper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proper. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for proper

proper

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of proper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

proper

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of proper (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British, informal : in a complete way

proper

adjective
prop·​er | \ ˈprä-pər How to pronounce proper (audio) \

Kids Definition of proper

1 : correct according to social or moral rules proper behavior
2 : appropriate entry 1, 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.

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

Other Words from proper

properly adverb

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Comments on proper

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