Meaning of “proper” in the English Dictionary

"proper" in English

See all translations


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.

More examples


uk /ˈprɒp.ər/ us /ˈprɑː.pɚ/ UK not standard

proper adverb (EXTREMELY)

UK informal used for emphasizing what you are saying :

I was proper annoyed with him.

(Definition of “proper” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"proper" in American English

See all translations


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)