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English definition of “proper”

proper

adjective uk   /ˈprɒp.ər/ us    /ˈprɑː.pɚ/

proper adjective (REAL)

B1 [before noun] real, satisfactory, suitable, or correct: This is Sara's first proper job - she usually does temporary work just for the money. If you're going to walk those sort of distances you need proper walking boots. I would have done the job myself but I didn't have the proper equipment. I've had sandwiches but I haven't eaten a proper meal. She likes everything to be in its proper place.Suitable and acceptableQuite good, or not very goodTrue, real, false, and unreal

proper adjective (SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE)

showing standards of behaviour that are socially and morally acceptable: [+ to infinitive] In those days it was considered not quite proper for young ladies to be seen talking to men in public. She was very proper, my grandmother - she'd never go out without wearing her hat and gloves.Suitable and acceptableQuite good, or not very good

proper adjective (MAIN)

[after noun] belonging to the main, most important, or typical part: It's a suburb of Manchester really - I wouldn't call it Manchester proper.Essential or necessary

proper adjective (COMPLETE)

[before noun] UK informal complete: I've got myself into a proper mess!Complete and wholeVery and extreme

proper

adverb uk   /ˈprɒp.ər/ us    /ˈprɑː.pɚ/ UK not standard
sometimes used instead of the adverb 'properly' to describe how someone speaks: She was an educated lady so she talked proper.Suitable and acceptableQuite good, or not very good
(Definition of proper from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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