Proper vs Legitimate - What's the difference?

proper | legitimate |

As adjectives the difference between proper and legitimate

is that proper is (lb) suitable while legitimate is in accordance with the law or established legal forms and requirements; lawful.

As an adverb proper

is (scotland) properly; thoroughly; completely.

As a verb legitimate is

to make legitimate, lawful, or valid; especially, to put in the position or state of a legitimate person before the law, by legal means.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?



(wikipedia proper)

Alternative forms

* propre (obsolete)


(en adjective)
  • (lb) Suitable.
  • #Suited or acceptable to the purpose or circumstances; fit, suitable.
  • #:
  • #*(Alexander Pope) (1688-1744)
  • #*:The proper study of mankind is man.
  • #*{{quote-magazine, date=2014-06-14, volume=411, issue=8891, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= It's a gas , passage=One of the hidden glories of Victorian engineering is proper drains. Isolating a city’s effluent and shipping it away in underground sewers has probably saved more lives than any medical procedure except vaccination.}}
  • #Following the established standards of behavior or manners; correct or decorous.
  • #:
  • #*
  • #*:This new-comer was a man who in any company would have seemed striking.Indeed, all his features were in large mold, like the man himself, as though he had come from a day when skin garments made the proper garb of men.
  • (lb) Possessed, related.
  • #(lb) Used to designate a particular person, place, or thing. Proper words are usually written with an initial capital letter.
  • #Pertaining exclusively to a specific thing or person; particular.
  • #*, II.1.3:
  • #*:They have a proper saint almost for every peculiar infirmity: for poison, gouts, agues.
  • #*(Samuel Taylor Coleridge) (1772-1834)
  • #*:those high and peculiar attributeswhich constitute our proper humanity
  • #(lb) Belonging to oneself or itself; own.
  • #*(William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • #*:my proper son
  • #*(John Dryden) (1631-1700)
  • #*:Now learn the difference, at your proper cost, / Betwixt true valour and an empty boast.
  • #*, II.4.1.ii:
  • #*:every country, and more than that, every private place, hath his proper remedies growing in it, particular almost to the domineering and most frequent maladies of it.
  • #*1946 , (Bertrand Russell), (A History of Western Philosophy) , I.20:
  • #*:Each animal has its proper' pleasure, and the ' proper pleasure of man is connected with reason.
  • #(lb) Portrayed in natural or usual coloration, as opposed to conventional tinctures.
  • #
  • (lb) Accurate, strictly applied.
  • #Excellent, of high quality; such as the specific person or thing should ideally be. (Now often merged with later senses.)
  • #:
  • #
  • #*1526 , (William Tyndale), trans. Bible , (w) VII:
  • #*:The same tyme was Moses borne, and was a propper childe in the sight of God, which was norisshed up in his fathers housse thre monethes.
  • #In the very strictest sense of the word (now often as postmodifier).
  • #*, Episode 16:
  • #*:Though unusual in the Dublin area he knew that it was not by any means unknown for desperadoes who had next to nothing to live on to be abroad waylaying and generally terrorising peaceable pedestrians by placing a pistol at their head in some secluded spot outside the city proper .
  • #
  • #:
  • Synonyms

    * correct, right, apt, prudent, sensible, fitting * appropriate, decent, good, polite, right, well-mannered * appropriate, just, honorable * comprehensive, royal, sweeping, intensive * (true) full, complete * complete, right (informal), total, utter


    * incorrect, wrong, bad, imprudent, insensible * inappropriate, indecent, bad, impolite, wrong, ill-mannered, unseemly * inappropriate, unjust, dishonorable * partial, incomplete, superficial, slapdash * (true) incomplete

    See also

    * proper adjective * proper fraction * proper noun


  • (Scotland) properly; thoroughly; completely
  • * 1964 , Saint Andrew Society (Glasgow, Scotland), The Scots magazine: Volume 82
  • Don't you think you must have looked proper daft?
  • (nonstandard, slang) properly
  • * 2012 , (Soufside), Hello (song)
  • When I meet a bad chick, know I gotta tell her hello
    talk real proper , but she straight up out the ghetto





    Etymology 1

    From . Originally "lawfully begotten," from (etyl) legitimer and directly from


    (en adjective)
  • In accordance with the law or established legal forms and requirements; lawful.
  • *
  • Conforming to known principles, or established or accepted rules or standards; valid.
  • legitimate''' reasoning; a '''legitimate standard or method
  • * (rfdate) Macaulay
  • Tillotson still keeps his place as a legitimate English classic.
  • Authentic, real, genuine.
  • legitimate''' poems of Chaucer; '''legitimate inscriptions
  • (senseid)Lawfully begotten, i.e., born to a legally married couple.
  • Relating to hereditary rights.
  • Synonyms
    (checksyns) * lawful, legal, rightful
    * illegitimate, false

    Etymology 2

    Legal Latin, from legitimatus, past participle of (legitimo). See above for antecedents


  • To make legitimate, lawful, or valid; especially, to put in the position or state of a legitimate person before the law, by legal means.
  • Usage notes
    * Forms of (legitimize) are about twice as common as forms of the verb legitimate in the US. * Forms of legitimate are somewhat more common than the forms of the verbs (legitimize) and (legitimise) in the UK combined.
    * legitimize
    Derived terms
    * delegitimate