WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
- most suitable;
correct:[before a noun]Is this the proper time to plant strawberries?
- agreeing with established or accepted standards:proper behavior.[It + be + ~ + to + verb]It's not proper to come so late to parties.
- in the strict sense:[after a noun]Shellfish do not belong to the class of fishes proper.
- British Terms[Chiefly Brit.]utter;
genuine:[before a noun]a proper fool.
- adapted or appropriate to the purpose or circumstances;
suitable:the proper time to plant strawberries.
- conforming to established standards of behavior or manners;
correct or decorous:a very proper young man.
right:It was only proper to bring a gift.
- strictly belonging or applicable:the proper place for a stove.
- belonging or pertaining exclusively or distinctly to a person, thing, or group.
- 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?
- (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.
- normal or regular.
- belonging to oneself or itself;
- British Terms[Chiefly Brit. Informal.]complete or thorough:a proper thrashing.
- Religion[Eccles.]used only on a particular day or festival:the proper introit.
- Heraldry(of a device) depicted in its natural colors:an oak tree proper.
- Informal Terms
- good-looking or handsome.
- Mathematics(of a subset of a set) not equal to the whole set.
- [Archaic.]of good character;
- Informal Termsthoroughly;
- Religion[Eccles.]a special office or special parts of an office appointed for a particular day or time.
- 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.