proper Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Meaning of “proper” in the English Dictionary

"proper" in British English

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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 ​temporarywork just for the ​money. If you're going to ​walklongdistances you need proper ​walkingboots. 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.
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proper adjective (SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE)

showingstandards of ​behaviour that are ​socially and ​morallyacceptable: [+ to infinitive] In those ​days it was ​considered not ​quite proper for ​youngladies to be ​seentalking 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 ​typicalpart: It's a ​suburb of Los Angeles really - I wouldn't ​call it Los Angeles proper.

proper adjective (COMPLETE)

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


uk   /ˈprɒp.ər/  us   /ˈprɑː.pɚ/ UK not standard
sometimes used ​instead of the ​adverb "​properly" to ​describe how someone ​speaks: She was an ​educatedlady so she talked proper.
(Definition of proper from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"proper" in American English

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 us   /ˈprɑp·ər/

proper adjective (SUITABLE)

fitting or ​right for a ​particularsituation; ​suitable: We didn’t have the proper ​tools to do the ​jobright. With proper ​treatment she should ​recovercompletely.

proper adjective (CORRECT)

[not gradable] correct, or ​considered to be ​correct: The ​coachshowed him the proper way to ​hold a ​bat.

proper adjective (SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE)

according to ​sociallyacceptedstandards of ​behavior: I didn’t ​think it was proper to just ​invite myself in.

proper adjective (CENTRAL)

[only after n, not gradable] being in the ​central or ​mainpart or ​place: They ​live in the ​suburbs, not in Boston proper.
(Definition of proper from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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