proper (adj.)

c. 1300, propre, "adapted to some purpose, fit, apt; commendable, excellent" (sometimes ironic), from Old French propre "own, particular; exact, neat, fitting, appropriate" (11c.) and directly from Latin proprius "one's own, particular to itself," from pro privo "for the individual, in particular," from ablative of privus "one's own, individual" (see private (adj.)) + pro "for" (see pro-). Related: Properly; properness. As an adverb, "very exceedingly," from mid-15c., but since 19c. the use is considered vulgar.

From early 14c. as "belonging or pertaining to oneself; individual; intrinsic;" also as "pertaining to a person or thing in particular, special, specific; distinctive, characteristic;" also "what is by the rules, correct, appropriate, acceptable." From early 15c. as "separate, distinct; itself." Meaning "socially appropriate, decent, respectable" is recorded by 1704.

Proper name "name belonging to or relating to the person or thing in question, name given to an individual of a class for distinction from others of the same class" is from c. 1300, a sense also preserved in astronomical proper motion "change in the apparent places of a celestial object in the sky relative to other stars or planets" (c. 1300). Proper noun is from mid-15c.

updated on December 11, 2020

Definitions of proper from WordNet

proper (adj.)
having all the qualities typical of the thing specified;
wanted a proper dinner, not just a snack
he finally has a proper job
proper (adj.)
limited to the thing specified;
his claim is connected with the deed proper
the city proper
proper (adj.)
marked by suitability or rightness or appropriateness;
proper manners
proper medical treatment
proper (adj.)
appropriate for a condition or purpose or occasion or a person's character, needs;
everything in its proper place
Synonyms: right
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.