proper Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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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 temporary work just for the money. If you're going to walk long 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.

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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 particular situation; suitable: We didn’t have the proper tools to do the job right. With proper treatment she should recover completely.
  • proper adjective (CORRECT)

[not gradable] correct, or considered to be correct: The coach showed him the proper way to hold a bat.
  • proper adjective (SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE)

according to socially accepted standards 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 main part 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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