adj., adv., & n.
adj. 1 a accurate, correct (in the proper sense of the word; gave him the proper amount). b fit, suitable, right (at the proper time; do it the proper way). 2 decent; respectable, esp. excessively so (not quite proper). 3 (usu. foll. by to) belonging or relating exclusively or distinctively (with the respect proper to them). 4 (usu. placed after noun) strictly so called; real; genuine (this is the crypt, not the cathedral proper). 5 colloq. thorough; complete (had a proper row about it). 6 (usu. placed after noun) Heraldry in the natural, not conventional, colours (a peacock proper). 7 archaic (of a person) handsome; comely. 8 (usu. with possessive pronoun) archaic own (with my proper eyes).
adv. Brit. dial. or colloq. 1 completely; very (felt proper daft). 2 (with reference to speech) in a genteel manner (learn to talk proper).
n. Eccl. the part of a service that varies with the season or feast. proper fraction a fraction that is less than unity, with the numerator less than the denominator. proper motion Astron. the part of the apparent motion of a fixed star etc. that is due to its actual movement in space relative to the sun. proper noun (or name) Gram. a name used for an individual person, place, animal, country, title, etc., and spelt with a capital letter, e.g. Jane, London, Everest. proper psalms (or lessons etc.) psalms or lessons etc. appointed for a particular day. properness n.
[ ME f. OF propre f. L proprius one's own, special ]