- adapted or appropriate to the purpose or circumstances; fit; suitable: the proper time to plant strawberries.
- conforming to established standards of behavior or manners; correct or decorous: a very proper young man.
- fitting; 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.
- strict; accurate.
- 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; own.
- Chiefly British Informal. complete or thorough: a proper thrashing.
- Ecclesiastical. used only on a particular day or festival: the proper introit.
- Heraldry. (of a device) depicted in its natural colors: an oak tree proper.
- excellent; capital; fine.
- good-looking or handsome.
- Mathematics. (of a subset of a set) not equal to the whole set.
- Archaic. of good character; respectable.
- Informal. thoroughly; completely.
- Ecclesiastical. a special office or special parts of an office appointed for a particular day or time.
- (usually prenominal) appropriate or suited for some purposein its proper place
- correct in behaviour or conduct
- excessively correct in conduct; vigorously moral
- up to a required or regular standard
- (immediately postpositive) (of an object, quality, etc) referred to or named specifically so as to exclude anything not directly connected with ithis claim is connected with the deed proper
- (postpositive foll by to) belonging to or characteristic of a person or thing
- (prenominal) British informal (intensifier)I felt a proper fool
- (usually postpositive) (of heraldic colours) considered correct for the natural colour of the object or emblem depictedthree martlets proper
- maths logic (of a relation) distinguished from a weaker relation by excluding the case where the relata are identical. For example, every set is a subset of itself, but a proper subset must exclude at least one member of the containing setSee also strict (def. 6)
- archaic pleasant or good
- British dialect (intensifier)he’s proper stupid
- good and proper informal thoroughlyto get drunk good and proper
- the parts of the Mass that vary according to the particular day or feast on which the Mass is celebratedCompare ordinary (def. 10)
adj.c.1300, “adapted to some purpose, fit, apt; commendable, excellent” (sometimes ironic), from Old French propre “own, particular; exact, neat, fitting, appropriate” (11c.), from Latin proprius “one’s own, particular to itself,” from pro privo “for the individual, in particular,” from ablative of privus “one’s own, individual” (see private (adj.)) + pro “for” (see pro-). Related: Properly. From early 14c. as “belonging or pertaining to oneself; individual; intrinsic;” from mid-14c. as “pertaining to a person or thing in particular, special, specific; distinctive, characteristic;” also “what is by the rules, correct, appropriate, acceptable.” From early 15c. as “separate, distinct; itself.” Meaning “socially appropriate, decent, respectable” is first recorded 1704. Proper name “name belonging to or relating to the person or thing in question,” is from late 13c., a sense also preserved in astronomical proper motion (c.1300). Proper noun is from c.1500.