1. Belonging to one; one's own; individual. “His proper good” [i. e., his own possessions]. --Chaucer. “My proper son.”
Now learn the difference, at your proper cost,
Betwixt true valor and an empty boast. --Dryden.
2. Belonging to the natural or essential constitution; peculiar; not common; particular; as, every animal has his proper instincts and appetites.
Those high and peculiar attributes . . . which constitute our proper humanity. --Coleridge.
3. Befitting one's nature, qualities, etc.; suitable in all respect; appropriate; right; fit; decent; as, water is the proper element for fish; a proper dress.
The proper study of mankind is man. --Pope.
In Athens all was pleasure, mirth, and play,
All proper to the spring, and sprightly May. --Dryden.
4. Becoming in appearance; well formed; handsome. [Archaic] “Thou art a proper man.”
Moses . . . was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child. --Heb. xi. 23.
5. Pertaining to one of a species, but not common to the whole; not appellative; -- opposed to common; as, a proper name; Dublin is the proper name of a city.
6. Rightly so called; strictly considered; as, Greece proper; the garden proper.
7. Her. Represented in its natural color; -- said of any object used as a charge.
In proper, individually; privately. [Obs.] --Jer. Taylor.
Proper flower or Proper corolla Bot., one of the single florets, or corollets, in an aggregate or compound flower.
Proper fraction Arith. a fraction in which the numerator is less than the denominator.
Proper nectary Bot., a nectary separate from the petals and other parts of the flower.
Proper noun 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.
Proper perianth or Proper involucre Bot., that which incloses only a single flower.
Proper receptacle Bot., a receptacle which supports only a single flower or fructification.
Prop·er, adv. Properly; hence, to a great degree; very; as, proper good. [Colloq & Vulgar]
adj 1: marked by suitability or rightness or appropriateness;
"proper medical treatment"; "proper manners" [ant: improper]
2: limited to the thing specified; "the city proper"; "his
claim is connected with the deed proper" [syn: proper(ip)]
3: appropriate for a condition or occasion; "everything in its
proper place"; "the right man for the job"; "she is not
suitable for the position" [syn: right, suitable]
4: having all the qualities typical of the thing specified;
"wanted a proper dinner; not just a snack"; "he finally
has a proper job" [syn: proper(a)]