Synonyms & Antonyms of proper

1 following the established traditions of refined society and good taste
  • the formal ball called for proper attire—tuxedos and full-length gowns only

Synonyms for proper

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2 being in agreement with the truth or a fact or a standard
  • there is really more than one proper way to pronounce that word in English

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Antonyms for proper

3 marked by or showing careful attention to set forms and details
  • we had nodded and said hello to one another but had never had a proper introduction

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5 serving to identify as belonging to an individual or group
  • malaria and other diseases that are proper to the tropics

Synonyms for proper

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About proper

How does the adjective proper differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of proper are appropriate, apt, felicitous, fitting, fit, happy, meet, and suitable. While all these words mean "right with respect to some end, need, use, or circumstance," proper suggests a suitability through essential nature or accordance with custom.

proper acknowledgement

When would appropriate be a good substitute for proper?

Although the words appropriate and proper have much in common, appropriate implies eminent or distinctive fitness.

an appropriate gift

When can apt be used instead of proper?

The meanings of apt and proper largely overlap; however, apt connotes a fitness marked by nicety and discrimination.

apt quotations

When is it sensible to use felicitous instead of proper?

While in some cases nearly identical to proper, felicitous suggests an aptness that is opportune, telling, or graceful.

a felicitous phrase

When is fit a more appropriate choice than proper?

In some situations, the words fit and proper are roughly equivalent. However, fit stresses adaptability and sometimes special readiness for use or action.

fit for battle

When might fitting be a better fit than proper?

The words fitting and proper can be used in similar contexts, but fitting implies harmony of mood or tone.

a fitting end

In what contexts can happy take the place of proper?

The words happy and proper are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, happy suggests what is effectively or successfully appropriate.

a happy choice of words

When could meet be used to replace proper?

The synonyms meet and proper are sometimes interchangeable, but meet suggests a just proportioning.

meet payment

Where would suitable be a reasonable alternative to proper?

While the synonyms suitable and proper are close in meaning, suitable implies an answering to requirements or demands.

clothes suitable for camping

Learn More About proper

Time Traveler for proper

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Proper.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on proper

Nglish: Translation of proper for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of proper for Arabic Speakers


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