WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
prop•er /ˈprɑpɚ/USA pronunciation   adj. 
  1. most suitable;
    right;
    correct:[before a noun]Is this the proper time to plant strawberries?
  2. agreeing with established or accepted standards:proper behavior.[It + be + ~ + to + verb]It's not proper to come so late to parties.
  3. in the strict sense:[after a noun]Shellfish do not belong to the class of fishes proper.
  4. British Terms[Chiefly Brit.]utter;
    genuine:[before a noun]a proper fool.
prop•er•ly, adv. See -propr-.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
prop•er  (propər),USA pronunciation adj. 
  1. adapted or appropriate to the purpose or circumstances;
    fit;
    suitable:the proper time to plant strawberries.
  2. conforming to established standards of behavior or manners;
    correct or decorous:a very proper young man.
  3. fitting;
    right:It was only proper to bring a gift.
  4. strictly belonging or applicable:the proper place for a stove.
  5. belonging or pertaining exclusively or distinctly to a person, thing, or group.
  6. strict;
    accurate.
  7. in the strict sense of the word (usually used postpositively):Shellfish do not belong to the fishes proper. Is the school within Boston proper or in the suburbs?
  8. Grammar
    • (of a name, noun, or adjective) designating a particular person or thing and written in English with an initial capital letter, as Joan, Chicago, Monday, American.
    • having the force or function of a proper name:a proper adjective.
  9. normal or regular.
  10. belonging to oneself or itself;
    own.
  11. British Terms[Chiefly Brit. Informal.]complete or thorough:a proper thrashing.
  12. Religion[Eccles.]used only on a particular day or festival:the proper introit.
  13. Heraldry(of a device) depicted in its natural colors:an oak tree proper.
  14. Informal Terms
    • excellent;
      capital;
      fine.
    • good-looking or handsome.
  15. Mathematics(of a subset of a set) not equal to the whole set.
  16. [Archaic.]of good character;
    respectable.

adv. 
  1. Informal Termsthoroughly;
    completely.

n. 
  1. Religion[Eccles.]a special office or special parts of an office appointed for a particular day or time.
proper•ly, adv. 
proper•ness, n. 
  • Latin proprius one's own
  • Old French
  • Middle English propre 1250–1300
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged suited.
    • 2, 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged meet, befitting, becoming, decent, polite.
    • 5.See corresponding entry in Unabridged special, individual, peculiar.
    • 6.See corresponding entry in Unabridged precise, exact, just, formal.

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