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adjective proper pronunciation in American English /ˈprɑpər/
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  1. 1
    [only before noun] appropriate for the purpose or situation

    You have to have the proper tools for the job.

    That’s not the proper way to do it!

    proper procedures:

    Councilors went against their own officers and ignored proper procedures.

  2. 2
    considered to be morally good

    I don’t think it would be proper for me to say any more.

    I’m sure you will all agree that this is the only proper course of action.

    right and proper:

    It’s only right and proper that his family should be present.

  3. 3
    considered to be real or serious

    When are you going to get a proper job?

    He needs proper medical care.

  4. 4
    behaving in a manner that most people would consider correct and polite

    Young people then were all terribly proper.

    1. a.
      behaving in a way that is so polite that other people feel annoyed or uncomfortable

      He’s always so prim and proper.

  5. 5
    [never before noun] understood in its most exact meaning

    Does he live in Chicago proper or in the suburbs?

  6. 6
    mainly British informal complete in every detail

    He’s only six, but he’s already a proper little gentleman.

  7. 7
    formal belonging to a particular type of thing
    proper to:

    a style of architecture proper to the period

rat tail

a type of hairstyle which has a long, thin strip of hair growing down the back of the neck

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speak human

(of a politician) to be able to communicate and connect with ordinary people

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