Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Characterized by appropriateness or suitability; fitting.
  • adjective Called for by rules or conventions; correct.
  • adjective Strictly following rules or conventions, especially in social behavior; seemly.
  • adjective Belonging to one; own.
  • adjective Characteristically belonging to the being or thing in question; peculiar.
  • adjective Being within the strictly limited sense, as of a term designating something.
  • adjective Ecclesiastical For use in the liturgy of a particular feast or season of the year.
  • adjective Mathematics Of or relating to a subset of a given set when the set has at least one element not in the subset.
  • adjective Worthy of the name; true.
  • adjective Out-and-out; thorough.
  • adverb Thoroughly.
  • noun The portion of the liturgy that varies according to the particular feast or season of the year.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Properly; very; exceedingly.
  • In geometry, not figurative; not at infinity: as, proper points.
  • To appropriate.
  • To make proper; adorn.
  • Special; peculiar; belonging to a species or individual and to nothing else; springing from the peculiar nature of a given species or individual; particularly suited to or befitting one's nature; natural; original.
  • Belonging to one; one's own.
  • Fit; suitable; appropriate.
  • According to recognized usage; correct; just: as, a proper word; a proper expression.
  • Rightly so called, named, or described; taken in a strict sense: in this sense usually following the noun: as, the apes proper belong to the Old World; no shell-fish are fishes proper.
  • Decent; correct in behavior; respectable; such as should be: as, proper conduct.
  • Well-formed; good-looking; personable; handsome; also, physically strong or active.
  • In heraldry, having its natural color or colors: said of any object used as a bearing: thus, a coil of rope proper is represented brown, and the spiral lines of the cordage are indicated.
  • In liturgics, used only on a particular day or festival, or during a particular octave or season: as, the proper introit; a proper preface; proper psalms.
  • Fine; pretty: said ironically of what is absurd or objectionable.
  • Becoming; deserved.
  • Synonyms Particular, individual, specific.
  • 3 and Fitting, befitting, meet, seemly, becoming, legitimate.
  • noun That which is set apart to special or individual use.
  • noun A property in the logical sense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adverb Colloq & Vulgar Properly; hence, to a great degree; very.
  • adjective Belonging to one; one's own; individual.
  • adjective Belonging to the natural or essential constitution; peculiar; not common; particular.
  • adjective Befitting one's nature, qualities, etc.; suitable in all respect; appropriate; right; fit; decent
  • adjective Archaic Becoming in appearance; well formed; handsome.
  • adjective Pertaining to one of a species, but not common to the whole; not appellative; -- opposed to common
  • adjective Rightly so called; strictly considered
  • adjective (Her.) Represented in its natural color; -- said of any object used as a charge.
  • adjective [Obs.] individually; privately.
  • adjective (Bot.) one of the single florets, or corollets, in an aggregate or compound flower.
  • adjective (Arith.) a fraction in which the numerator is less than the denominator.
  • adjective (Bot.), (Gram.) a name belonging to an individual, by which it is distinguished from others of the same class; -- opposed to common noun; as, John, Boston, America.
  • adjective (Bot.) that which incloses only a single flower.
  • adjective (Bot.) a receptacle which supports only a single flower or fructification.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Suitable.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English propre, from Old French, from Latin proprius; see per in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman proper, propre, Old French propre (French: propre), and their source, Latin proprius.

Examples

Comments

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  • "Just underground lies the examination room; beneath it, and thus outside the tower proper (for the examination room was the propulsion chamber of the original structure) stretches the labyrinth of the oubliette." -- Gene Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun

    September 25, 2008

  • IrE; In AmE this has a moralistic tone not connoted in IrE. Closest analogue in AmE is to double the word (i.e. use reduplication)

    April 20, 2011