Informal. thoroughly; completely.


Ecclesiastical. a special office or special parts of an office appointed for a particular day or time.

Origin of proper

1250–1300; Middle English propre < Old French < Latin proprius one's own
Related formsprop·er·ly, adverbprop·er·ness, nounun·prop·er, adjectiveun·prop·er·ly, adverb

Synonyms for proper Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for properly

accordingly, perfectly, well, accurately, rightly, suitably, fitly

Examples from the Web for properly

Contemporary Examples of properly

Historical Examples of properly

  • She was properly presented; but as yet she has had no success at all.'


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • If these are properly looked after, they may be kept for some time.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

  • If it is properly put together it will remain rigid and unyielding.

    Flying Machines

    W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

  • I was glad to see that her neck and arms were properly covered.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • To whom could she so properly confide this important secret?

British Dictionary definitions for properly



(usually prenominal) appropriate or suited for some purposein its proper place
correct in behaviour or conduct
excessively correct in conduct; vigorously moral
up to a required or regular standard
(immediately postpositive) (of an object, quality, etc) referred to or named specifically so as to exclude anything not directly connected with ithis claim is connected with the deed proper
(postpositive foll by to) belonging to or characteristic of a person or thing
(prenominal) British informal (intensifier)I felt a proper fool
(usually postpositive) (of heraldic colours) considered correct for the natural colour of the object or emblem depictedthree martlets proper
maths logic (of a relation) distinguished from a weaker relation by excluding the case where the relata are identical. For example, every set is a subset of itself, but a proper subset must exclude at least one member of the containing setSee also strict (def. 6)
archaic pleasant or good


British dialect (intensifier)he's proper stupid
good and proper informal thoroughlyto get drunk good and proper


the parts of the Mass that vary according to the particular day or feast on which the Mass is celebratedCompare ordinary (def. 10)
Derived Formsproperly, adverbproperness, noun

Word Origin for proper

C13: via Old French from Latin prōprius special
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for properly



c.1300, "adapted to some purpose, fit, apt; commendable, excellent" (sometimes ironic), from Old French propre "own, particular; exact, neat, fitting, appropriate" (11c.), 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.

From early 14c. as "belonging or pertaining to oneself; individual; intrinsic;" from mid-14c. 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 first recorded 1704. Proper name "name belonging to or relating to the person or thing in question," is from late 13c., a sense also preserved in astronomical proper motion (c.1300). Proper noun is from c.1500.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper