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prop·er / ˈpräpər/ • adj. 1. truly what something is said or regarded to be; genuine: she's never had a proper job a proper meal. ∎  strictly so called; in its true form: some of the dos and don'ts in espionage proper. ∎ inf. chiefly Brit. used as an intensifier, often in derogatory contexts: she looked like a proper harlot. 2. of the required type; suitable or appropriate: an artist needs the proper tools. ∎  according to what is correct or prescribed for a particular situation or thing: they had not followed the proper procedures. ∎  according to or respecting recognized social standards or conventions; respectable, esp. excessively so: her parents' view of what was proper for a well-bred girl a very prim and proper Swiss lady. 3. (proper to) belonging or relating exclusively or distinctively to; particular to: the two elephant types proper to Africa and to southern Asia. ∎  (of a psalm, lesson, prayer, etc.) appointed for a particular day, occasion, or season. ∎ archaic belonging to oneself or itself; own: to judge with my proper eyes. 4. Heraldry in the natural colors. 5. archaic (of a person) good-looking: he is a proper youth! 6. Math. denoting a subset or subgroup that does not constitute the entire set or group, esp. one that has more than one element. • n. the part of a church service that varies with the season or festival. DERIVATIVES: prop·er·ness n.

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PROPER. A general term for what is right, suitable, or appropriate (the proper technical term; proper conduct), often implying a wish or need to ‘do the right thing’ socially (They were always very proper in everything they did). The term has sometimes been attached to groups and places: ‘She was only a mild rebel: there was still too much of the Proper Bostonian in her’ ( J. Cleary, High Road to China, 1977). Traditionally, a proper accent has been the accent considered most suitable for polite, dignified, educated usage, among ladies and gentlemen: in England, RECEIVED PRONUNCIATION. Such non-standard expressions as He don't talk proper have long been widespread, marking the social and linguistic gap between speakers of vernacular and standard English: ‘Perhaps she'll 'ave another go at teachin' me to speak proper, pore soul’ ( Margery Allingham, The Tiger in the Smoke, 1952); ironically, ‘How to talk proper in Liverpool’ (subtitle of Lern Yerself Scouse, 1966, by Frank Shaw, Fritz Spiegl, & Stan Kelly). The term proper English is often used to mean STANDARD ENGLISH: ‘Debates about the state and status of the English language are rarely debates about language alone. Closely linked to the question, what is proper English? is another, more significant social question: who are the proper English?’ (publisher's statement opening Tony Crowley's Proper English: Readings in Language, History and Cultural Identity. Routledge, 1991). See AESTHETICS, CORRECT, GENTEELISM, GOOD ENGLISH.

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properAgrippa, chipper, clipper, dipper, equipper, flipper, gripper, hipper, kipper, nipper, Pippa, ripper, shipper, sipper, skipper, slipper, stripper, tipper, tripper, whipper, zipper •crimper, shrimper, simper, whimper, Whymper •crisper, whisper •mudskipper • caliper • Philippa •juniper • gossiper •worshipper (US worshiper) •griper, piper, sniper, swiper, viper, wiper •bagpiper • sandpiper •bopper, chopper, copper, cropper, Dopper, dropper, hopper, improper, Joppa, poppa, popper, proper, shopper, stopper, swapper, topper, whopper •stomper • prosper • bebopper •teenybopper • grasshopper •clodhopper • sharecropper •name-dropper • eavesdropper •window-shopper • doorstopper •show-stopper •gawper, pauper, torpor, warper

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proper pert. to oneself or itself or to a person or thing particularly XIII; strictly pertaining; thorough, complete; excellent, fine XIV; specially adapted XV (cf. the adv.). ME. propre — (O)F. — L. prṓprius one's own, special, peculiar, prob. f. *prō prīuō as a PRIVATE or peculiar thing.
Hence properly XIII (appropriately, fittingly). So property ownership (esp. private) XIII; thing or things owned XIV; attribute, quality; † propriety portable article for a dramatic performance XV. ME. proprete — AN. *proprete, (O)F. propriété — L. prṓprietās PROPRIETY.

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Fit; correct; reasonably sufficient. That which is well adapted or appropriate.

Proper care is the degree of care a reasonable, prudent person would use under similar circumstances.

A proper party is an individual who has an interest in the litigation. He or she can be joined—that is, brought into the action—but his or her nonjoinder will not result in a dismissal. A substantial judicial decree can still be rendered in the absence of a proper party. A proper party is distinguishable from a necessary party in that the latter must be joined in order to give complete relief to the litigants.



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Proper. The part of the Christian eucharist and offices which changes with the season of the calendar or festival.

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