Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of proper
Meaning of proper by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Alternative forms

    • propre ( obsolete )


    From Anglo-Norman proper, propre, Old French propre ( French: propre ), and their source, Latin proprius .


    • ( Australia ) IPA: /ˈprɔp.ə/, X-SAMPA: /"prOp.@/
    • ( UK ) IPA: /ˈpɹɒ.pə/, X-SAMPA: /"prQ.p@/
    • ( US ) enPR: präpʹər, IPA: /ˈpɹɑ.pɚ/, X-SAMPA: /"prAp.@`/
    • Rhymes: -ɒpə( ɹ )
    • Hyphenation: prop‧er


    proper ( comparative more proper, superlative most proper )

    1. Suitable.
      1. Suited or acceptable to the purpose or circumstances; fit, suitable. [from 13th c.]
        The proper time to plant potatoes .
      2. Following the established standards of behavior or manners; correct or decorous. [from 18th c.]
        A very proper young lady .
    2. Possessed, related.
      1. ( grammar ) Used to designate a particular person, place, or thing. Proper words are usually written with an initial capital letter. [from 14th c.]
      2. Pertaining exclusively to a specific thing or person; particular. [from 14th c.]
      3. ( archaic ) Belonging to oneself or itself; own. [from 14th c.]
      4. ( heraldry ) Portrayed in natural or usual coloration, as opposed to conventional tinctures. [from 16th c.]
      5. ( mathematics, physics ) Eigen-; designating a function or value which is an eigenfunction or eigenvalue. [from 20th c.]
    3. Accurate, strictly applied.
      1. Excellent, of high quality; such as the specific person or thing should ideally be. ( Now often merged with later senses. ) [from 14th c.]
        Now that was a proper breakfast .
      2. ( now regional ) Attractive, elegant. [from 14th c.]
      3. In the very strictest sense of the word ( now often as postmodifier ). [from 14th c.]
      4. ( now colloquial ) Utter, complete. [from 15th c.]
        When I realized I was wearing my shirt inside out, I felt a proper fool .



    Related terms

    See also


    proper ( not comparable )

    1. ( Scotland ) properly; thoroughly; completely
    2. ( nonstandard, slang ) properly



    pro per

    By Wiktionary ( 2009/11/19 02:21 UTC Version )


    short form of the Latin “in propria persona”


    pro per

    1. short form of in propria persona


Explanation of proper by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. appropriate for a condition or purpose or occasion or a person's character, needs

    2. everything in its proper place
    3. limited to the thing specified

    4. the city proper
      his claim is connected with the deed proper
    5. marked by suitability or rightness or appropriateness

    6. proper medical treatment
      proper manners
    7. having all the qualities typical of the thing specified

    8. wanted a proper dinner; not just a snack
      he finally has a proper job

    Definition of proper by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Proper a. [OE. propre, F. propre, fr. L. proprius. Cf. Appropriate.]

      1. Belonging to one; one's own; individual. “His proper good” [i. e., his own possessions]. Chaucer. “My proper son.” Shak.

      Now learn the difference, at your proper cost,

      Betwixt true valor and an empty boast. Dryden.

      2. Belonging to the natural or essential constitution; peculiar; not common; particular; as, “every animal has his proper instincts and appetites”.

      Those high and peculiar attributes . . . which constitute our proper humanity. Coleridge.

      3. Befitting one's nature, qualities, etc.; suitable in all respect; appropriate; right; fit; decent; as, “water is the proper element for fish; a proper dress.”

      The proper study of mankind is man. Pope.

      In Athens all was pleasure, mirth, and play,

      All proper to the spring, and sprightly May. Dryden.

      4. Becoming in appearance; well formed; handsome. [Archaic] “Thou art a proper man.” Chaucer.

      Moses . . . was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child. Heb. xi. 23.

      5. Pertaining to one of a species, but not common to the whole; not appellative; -- opposed to common; as, “a proper name; Dublin is the proper name of a city.”

      6. Rightly so called; strictly considered; as, “Greece proper; the garden proper.”

      7. ( Her. ) Represented in its natural color; -- said of any object used as a charge.

      In proper, individually; privately. [Obs.] Jer. Taylor. -- Proper flower or Proper corolla ( Bot. ), one of the single florets, or corollets, in an aggregate or compound flower. -- Proper fraction ( Arith. ) a fraction in which the numerator is less than the denominator. -- Proper nectary ( Bot. ), a nectary separate from the petals and other parts of the flower. -- Proper noun ( Gram. ), a name belonging to an individual, by which it is distinguished from others of the same class; -- opposed to common noun; as, John, Boston, America. -- Proper perianth or Proper involucre ( Bot. ), that which incloses only a single flower. -- Proper receptacle ( Bot. ), a receptacle which supports only a single flower or fructification.

    2. Proper, adv. Properly; hence, to a great degree; very; as, “proper good”. [Colloq & Vulgar]