- 1 [attributive] chiefly British Denoting something that is truly what it is said or regarded to be; genuine: she’s never had a proper job a proper mealMore example sentences
- No doubt, hawking is not often regarded as a proper job, but in reality, it involves minimum investment with maximum returns.
- Surely there can be no genuine democracy without proper self-determination free from the narrow minded preferences of an aggressor state.
- So, of course, we had real jobs with proper tax codes, an optional pensions scheme, sickness cover and employee rights.
- 1.1 [postpositive] Strictly so called; in its true form: after this event, three countries will progress to the World Cup properMore example sentences
- They're not going to be taxed on hotel rooms if they can prove that they were living in New Orleans proper and that they're actual evacuees.
- Warrenpoint now proceed to the first round proper where they will meet Irvinestown from Fermanagh back in Clontiberet in a fortnight's time.
- It seems like there's a strip of stores and businesses three miles long, from the Michigan border into Iron Mountain proper.
- 1.2 • informal Used as an intensifier, especially in derogatory contexts: a proper little do-gooder, aren’t I?More example sentences
- She's a proper little child, getting into mischief.
- In short, I was a proper little Cultural Revolutionary in the making.
- Part of me wanted to tell her that Lydia had happily left home to be with Matty and was looking forward to their marriage and becoming a proper little housewife.
- 2 [attributive] Of the required or correct type or form; suitable or appropriate: an artist needs the proper tools they had not followed the proper proceduresMore example sentences
- Often when dealing with parts of the engine, or the hard-to-reach spots under the hood, proper tools are required.
- This procedure is often time-consuming, tedious to perform and requires proper facilities.
- Its proper use requires moral reflection and the establishment of moral limits.
- 2.1According to or respecting social standards or conventions; respectable, especially excessively so: her parents' view of what was proper for a well-bred girl a very prim and proper Swiss ladyMore example sentences
- She'd learned to ride sidesaddle, as was proper for a young lady.
- But no, neither was proper for a young lady of noble blood, a princess especially.
- It's not exactly proper for ladies to get involved in such things.
- 3 (proper to) Belonging or relating exclusively or distinctively to; particular to: the two elephant types proper to Africa and to southern Asia
- 6 Mathematics Denoting a subset or subgroup that does not constitute the entire set or group, especially one that has more than one element.More example sentences
- The second is that all mathematical proofs can be recast as logical proofs or, in other words, that the theorems of mathematics constitute a proper subset of those of logic.
- An odd perfect number is defined to be an odd integer that is equal to the sum of its proper divisors.
- Amicable numbers come in pairs in which each number is the sum of the proper divisors of the other.
adverbBritish • informal or • dialect Back to top
- 1Satisfactorily or correctly: my eyes were all blurry and I couldn’t see properMore example sentences
- If we all talked proper they wouldn't have to make us sound so awful.
nounBack to top
- The part of a church service that varies with the season or feast: we go to the High Mass, with plainsong propers sung by the Ritual ChoirMore example sentences
- Did every parish congregation need the propers for the Blessing of an Abbot?
- That book has 1,293 pages, including such useful things as the propers for the Blessing of an Abbot.
- Nevertheless, even within the settings of the propers and hours, one keeps coming across exquisitely beautiful moments.
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- It's tacky and seedy, but it's got these pretensions to properness - seaside landladies and all that stuff.
- And as your husband, I will expect respect, decorum, and properness a woman is supposed to display.
- The woman across the table was just as fearful, but kept herself under a mask-a mask of civilization hiding wild eyes, properness hiding tensed muscles, ready to spring.
Middle English: from Old French propre, from Latin proprius 'one's own, special'.