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

The company may want to ensure its authorized service providers are using the proper repair components and following procedure. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Apple’s T2 chip will block some third-party repairs of new devices," 13 Nov. 2018 For these reasons, proper breathing should be one of your main focuses during exercise, says Clancy. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Here's Why the Way You Breathe During a Workout Matters," 22 Sep. 2018 Also, being in the U.S. without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Woman’s MeToo moments lead to despair," 13 July 2018 Shark recalls a fear of playing a foreign country without the proper resources. Billboard, "The Down Underdogs: Australian Alternative Artists on Making it Big in America and at Home," 13 July 2018 According to a criminal complaint, Gahan had reasonable cause to suspect that a 12-year-old Horning Middle School student had been abused or had been threatened to be abused, and failed to report it to the proper authorities. Nicole Aimone, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha School District administrator didn't report student's sexual assault, complaint says," 6 July 2018 Crossfit is structured and meticulous, with a heavy reliance on compound movements and an emphasis on maintaining proper form throughout. Tres Dean, GQ, "The Best Martial Arts for Getting Anderson Silva-Ripped," 13 June 2018 As is only proper, the meme was noticed by the media, ensuring that order has indeed been restored. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: Man, Twitter Loves a Good Civil War Meme, Huh?," 8 July 2018 These, of course, are the portals to the world that dozens of artists explore, critique and celebrate in the show proper, a somewhat frenetic assemblage situated inside the museum’s fourth-floor galleries. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "MCA's new 'I Was Raised on the Internet' exhibition asks what the web has done to us," 2 July 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

19 Nov 2018

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)

: 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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Comments on proper

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