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English definition of “proper”

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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.
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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)
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