proper Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “proper” in the English Dictionary

"proper" in British English

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properadjective

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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properadverb

uk   /ˈprɒp.ər/  us   /ˈprɑː.pɚ/ UK not standard
(Definition of proper from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"proper" in American English

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properadjective

 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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