proper definition, meaning - what is proper in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “proper”

See all translations

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.
More examples

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.

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.

proper adjective (COMPLETE)

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

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.
(Definition of proper from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of proper?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “proper” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

force

physical, especially violent, strength, or power

Word of the Day

They sometimes go here and they never go there: using adverbs of frequency

by Liz Walter,
April 29, 2015
Sometimes, always, often, never: these are some of the most common words in English.  Unfortunately, they are also some of the words that cause the most problems for students. Many of my students put them in the wrong place, often because that’s where they go in their own languages. They say things

Read More 

e-juice noun

April 27, 2015
the liquid content in an e-cigarette, which includes nicotine and may be flavoured in various ways Contestants…suck on a modified vaper until they’ve filled their chest cavity with enough vaporised nicotine “e-juice” to shoot out a belch of white smoke upwards of 4ft long.

Read More