proper

adjective
prop·​er | \ ˈprä-pər \

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

properly adverb
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

At the receiving side, TCP software collects the packets, extracts the data, and puts them in the proper order. Popular Mechanics, "The Death of the Internet," 7 Feb. 2019 After all, the Oscars are at the end of the month; will her ring make a proper cameo on the red carpet? Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Photo of Jennifer Lawrence's Engagement Ring Has Us Confused," 7 Feb. 2019 The singer peed in a bucket at a restaurant, tried to illegally bring his pet monkey into Europe (it was detained at the airport because Justin didn't have the proper paperwork), and he was caught visiting a brothel in Brazil. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Wait, Justin Bieber Visited A Brothel In Brazil When He Was Just 19-Years-Old?!," 7 Feb. 2019 In such instances, the Boeing bulletin stresses that proper procedures include turning off certain automated protections. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Indonesia Crash Probe Zeros In on Faulty Flight-Control Gear," 7 Nov. 2018 The most analytical sign of the zodiac, Virgo helps us categorize, organize, and develop systems to put everything in its proper place. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's August 2018 Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 30 July 2018 Huvelle, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, said the conspiracy claims in the lawsuit centered around meetings between Trump staffers and Russian operatives in New York, making New York the proper place for the lawsuit. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Lawsuit linking Trump to leak of Democratic emails tossed out on procedural grounds," 4 July 2018 Those villas—de facto urban estates marked by high stone walls and undulating olive groves—typically combine rustic grandeur with easy access to the city proper. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "In a Struggling Italy, Florence Homes Enjoy a New Renaissance," 28 Nov. 2018 For obvious reasons, this requires the proper look. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "A Guide to Thanksgiving Beauty Etiquette: From Casually Impressing Old Classmates to Winning Over Parents," 22 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Anyway, Oculus Quest duplicates the more rigid straps of the Rift proper, which is a huge improvement over Go’s flimsy elastic. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "The $399 Oculus Quest is a premium VR headset with no wires—and no PC required," 26 Sep. 2018 Fit 411 Red Fleece is known for having a more modern (read: slimmer) fit than Brooks Brothers proper, and this shirt is no exception. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "The Chambray Shirt: Why Every Man Needs This All-American Staple," 3 July 2018 For the new analysis, WalletHub researchers compared the 100 most populated U.S. city propers across four key dimensions: cost of ownership and maintenance; traffic and infrastructure; safety; and access to vehicles and maintenance. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Driving in Atlanta is painful — but it’s far from the worst," 11 July 2018 Instead of the drunken tinker Christopher Sly, who wakes up as a lord in an elaborate prank that gives way to the performance proper, a female writer dressed as a man is introduced. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "South Coast Rep's 'Shrew!' trips along the rutted road of Shakespearean updates," 2 Apr. 2018 Close to 650,000 people now live in Las Vegas proper, with an estimated 2.2 million in the greater region, and some of the country's biggest investors see it as a fertile sports market. Jesse Dougherty, chicagotribune.com, "Las Vegas, shaken by tragedy, finds an unlikely rallying point: Its first-year NHL team," 27 May 2018 My next guest says the Mueller proper should keep going. Fox News, "Ann Coulter on the status of Trump's immigration agenda," 20 May 2018 About 484,674 people were living in New Orleans proper in 2000, the last official census count before the storm. Jennifer Larino, NOLA.com, "Is New Orleans' population growth slowing down?," 27 Mar. 2018 Coming up are two character spinoffs from the sequel, The Nun and The Crooked Man, along with a third movie proper. Tom Philip, GQ, "Mess Up Your Weekend By Streaming The Conjuring, One of the Best Pure Horror Movies Ever, on Netflix," 3 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 To date, Kansas City proper has seen over 2,000 burglaries in 2017, a rise of 2 percent since last year. Anne Kniggendorf, kansascity, "Safe at home: Alarm systems are an option but not the only one, experts say," 9 Oct. 2017 To maximize the light in their airy, white room, the couple cut a large square window in the wall between Weiner’s closet and the bedroom proper, allowing light to stream in. Kit Waskom Pollard, baltimoresun.com, "At home with WBAL anchor Deborah Weiner," 13 Sep. 2017 Liverpool confirmed qualification to the Champions League proper after seeing off Hoffenheim on Wednesday. SI.com, "Jurgen Klopp Gives a Transfer Update to Liverpool Fans as the Window is Set to Close Next Week," 25 Aug. 2017 If Presley’s set holds at the top when the chart proper is published this Friday, the late singer will extend his lead as the solo artist with the most U.K. No. 1 albums. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Elvis Presley Could Extend U.K. Albums Chart Record," 15 Aug. 2017 Five miles down the road in McCarthy proper, Ma Johnson's Hotel and sister property, the Lancaster's Backpackers Hotel, offer luxury and budget accommodations, respectively, but with a similar model of clean, comfortable accommodations the charm. Erin Kirkland, Alaska Dispatch News, "McCarthy area offers tempting mix of history, adventure," 1 Aug. 2017

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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Statistics for proper

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for proper

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

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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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on proper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with proper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for proper

Spanish Central: Translation of proper

Nglish: Translation of proper for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of proper for Arabic Speakers

Comments on proper

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