Definition of right in English:

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Pronunciation: /rīt/


1Morally good, justified, or acceptable: I hope we’re doing the right thing [with infinitive]: you were quite right to criticize him
More example sentences
  • What I'm saying is, is it actually right, is it morally the right reason to legalise the drug?
  • I believe a change would not only be right for the CIU, but also morally right.
  • This scenario no doubt raises questions as to whether it is morally right for a teacher to date a pupil.
2True or correct as a fact: I’m not sure I know the right answer her theories were proved right
More example sentences
  • Yes, yes, everything you say is right and true, but something about it just didn't quite cut it.
  • It would be much better for all of us if they just gave us the choice, and the right facts.
  • Did Hemingway know the right answer and not reveal it before taking his own life?
2.1 [predicative] Correct in one’s opinion or judgment: she was right about Tom having no money
More example sentences
  • Not so, the masses are right to have their opinions and favourites - but that does not validate them.
  • In my opinion, the Judge was right in the decision which he reached on the Second Issue.
  • If the US is right, the doctrine is now established as part of the law of nations.
2.2According to what is correct for a particular situation or thing: is this the right way to the cottage? you’re not holding it the right way up
More example sentences
  • He knew exactly what everyone had to do, who had to run where to make the right pass for that situation.
  • If our attitude is right and everything goes according to plan, we could cause an upset.
  • Tourism in York was now at about the right level according to the chairman of the English Tourism Board.
2.3The best or most suitable of a number of possible choices for a particular purpose or occasion: he was clearly the right man for the job I was waiting for the right moment to ask him
More example sentences
  • For me, he was the right man at the right moment, and it doesn't surprise me that he is heading their next World Cup bid.
  • He was an outstanding communicator who offered the right briefing at the right moment.
  • Only by getting to know oneself can one make the right choices at crucial moments, Lee said.
suitable, appropriate, fitting, correct, proper, desirable, preferable, ideal
archaic meet
opportune, advantageous, favorable, propitious, good, lucky, happy, fortunate, providential, felicitous;
timely, seasonable, convenient, expedient, suitable, appropriate
2.4Socially fashionable or important: he was seen at all the right places
More example sentences
  • It will be a great way to meet the right people and to get my foot in the door.
2.5 [predicative] In a satisfactory, sound, or normal state or condition: that sausage doesn’t smell right if only I could have helped put matters right
More example sentences
  • As the name suggests, this is a spectacular spring plant that will grow into a large clump if the conditions are right.
  • Mr Allen said all the conditions were right for the AMRC in South Yorkshire to become a world leader.
  • If weather conditions are right and the homemade snow settles, a snowball fight could be on the cards.
3On, toward, or relating to the side of a human body or of a thing that is to the east when the person or thing is facing north: my right elbow her right shoe the right edge of the field
More example sentences
  • The woman grasps his ankles and the man places his left hand over her hip and props his body up with his right arm.
  • She stood up, and balanced the basket on her hip though a stab of pain flashed up her body from her right leg.
  • The first outwardly visible sign of change is in the body's right foot which has begun to spasm and move at the ankle.
4 [attributive] informal, chiefly British Complete; absolute (used for emphasis, typically in derogatory contexts): I felt a right idiot
More example sentences
  • I'm having to eat it it with my hands now and I'm making a right mess of my keyboard, oh yes.
  • On top of nicking my biscuits they had also made a right mess when they made the tea.
  • Laois is in a right mess and it will take a lot more than Paudi Butler to sort it out.
5Relating to a person or political party or grouping favoring conservative views: are you politically right, left, or center?
More example sentences
  • How this fits in with far right Conservatives' rampant xenophobia is beyond me.
  • Certainly Margaret Thatcher did not make many efforts to hide her extreme right views on immigration.
  • He uses his magazine the Weekly Standard to promote his hard right views.


1 [with prepositional phrase] To the furthest or most complete extent or degree (used for emphasis): the car spun right off the track I’m right out of ideas
More example sentences
  • So it involves making it easier for parents to get their cars right to the school door at the expense of those of us who choose to walk.
  • You used to be able to drive in in your car and pull right up to the plane and get on the plane.
  • We walked down Downing Street right up to Number 10 and visited the Tower of London.
1.1Exactly; directly (used to emphasize the precise location or time of something): Harriet was standing right behind her
More example sentences
  • I stood up, thanked the officers, and stumbled back to my room with Max right behind me.
  • Mitchell nodded and hurried down the stairs with his friends right behind him.
  • Turning on her heal she ran back the way they had come, Elliot right behind her.
exactly, precisely, directly, immediately, just, squarely, dead
informal bang, smack, plumb, smack dab
1.2 informal Immediately; without delaying or hesitating: I’ll be right back
informal straight off, PDQ, pretty damn quick, pronto, lickety-split
1.3 [as submodifier] dialect or archaic Very: it’s right spooky in there!
More example sentences
  • If you're on a tight budget, yet up for a right laddish drive, a coupe could well be for you.
  • She's the one who gives you all your ideas and inspiration, but she's a right bad-tempered cow.
  • They had directed traffic to ensure all the whites got a right good view of the action.
2Correctly: he had guessed right
More example sentences
  • If you guess right you will appear to be a genius, if you guess wrong you will look foolish.
  • Well, dirty or not, and doing it right or not, we in Ireland have well and truly woken up to sex.
  • The ship's control party did every thing exactly right even though they were hurt as well.
2.1In the required or necessary way; properly; satisfactorily: nothing’s going right for me this season
More example sentences
  • Obviously, if everything goes right we've got time to paint the car and all.
  • If you expect to do everything right all of the time, then you can't afford to have a sense of humour.
  • He tells me what he thinks: where the Conservatives are going right or wrong, what is good or silly.
well, properly, justly, fairly, nicely, equitably, impartially, honorably, lawfully, legally, ethically
well, for the best, favorably, happily, advantageously, profitably, providentially, luckily, conveniently
3On or to the right side: turn right at Main Street
More example sentences
  • You control shot direction by moving a joystick left or right in the direction you want to place it.
  • Walking through the hall, the eye is drawn left and right towards the side galleries.
  • I was driving a car in London, turning right from a side road into a one way system.


1That which is morally correct, just, or honorable: she doesn’t understand the difference between right and wrong the rights and wrongs of the matter
More example sentences
  • There is a lifetime of joy and companionship to be had from owning a dog but he needs to learn right from wrong at an early stage.
  • The point of punishment is to learn a lesson from it, to clearly see right from wrong.
  • I believe it is nonsensical, and that God gave us the brains to know right from wrong.
2A moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way: [with infinitive]: she had every right to be angry you’re quite within your rights to ask for your money back there is no right of appeal against the decision
More example sentences
  • The right to privacy must be found to encompass the inner domain of thought.
  • Some claim that city surveillance is a violation of one's right to privacy.
  • Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands have the right to self-determination enshrined in their constitutions.
entitlement, prerogative, privilege, advantage, due, birthright, liberty, authority, power, license, permission, dispensation, leave, sanction, freedom
Law, historical droit
2.1 (rights) The authority to perform, publish, film, or televise a particular work, event, etc. they sold the paperback rights
More example sentences
  • A sequel, Heart of Coal, has just been published and film rights have also been sold.
  • Feature film rights to the novel have been kicked around Hollywood for some time, with Tom Cruise mooted to be involved.
  • Marilyn Monroe had bought the film rights with a view to inviting Olivier to be her co-star and director.
3 (the right) The right-hand part, side, or direction: take the first turning on the right (one's right) she seated me on her right
More example sentences
  • It took me a while to start it because the ignition was on the left side instead of the right.
  • The second shot requires to be hit over the cross bunkers avoiding the River West Water on the right.
  • The picture was brought in by Bill Cordukes, who can be seen on the second row from the front on the right.
3.1(In football or a similar sport) the right-hand half of the field when facing the opponent’s goal.
Example sentences
  • He needs ball winners of the quality of Keano to allow him to play down the right.
  • Seven minutes later, a ball from midfield caught out Alcide and saw the pacy Gordon bear down on goal on the right.
  • Within a minute Scott Barley made a low diving header following a cross from the right for goal number four.
3.2 (right) Baseball short for right field. a looping single to right
3.3The right wing of an army.
3.4A right turn: he made a right in Dorchester Avenue
More example sentences
  • The next challenge is a high speed right, nerves of steel will be required for this one.
  • Somebody got ready to pit and Riggs obviously didn't know about it and slammed the brakes on and hung a right on me.
3.5A road or entrance on the right: take the first right over the stream
3.6(Especially in the context of boxing) a person’s right fist.
3.7A blow given with this: the young cop swung a terrific right
More example sentences
  • Instead he countered with two lefts to the body, a right to the head and a left to the jaw.
4 (often the Right) [treated as singular or plural] A grouping or political party favoring conservative views and supporting capitalist economic principles.
Example sentences
  • It's funny how bothered the Right gets about any large leftist demo, perhaps feeling a little threatened.
  • The Right has done a wonderful job of making themselves seem like the victim when they are the ones running the show.
  • What is difficult to understand is why so much deference is paid to the threats from the Right.


[with object]
1Restore to a normal or upright position: we righted the capsized dinghy
More example sentences
  • She was a little dizzy from being righted to a standing position and Wrenn steadied her.
  • The boat capsized once but righted itself in minutes.
  • With a practised flip, he righted the dinghy and held it steady while we clambered aboard.
set upright, turn back over
1.1Restore to a normal or correct condition or situation: righting the economy demanded major cuts in defense spending
More example sentences
  • The harsh figures fly in the face of the bland assurances by certain economists and politicians that the US economy was righting itself after a temporary setback early in the year.
  • In the long run, such a change has the promise of both righting the economy and undoing social wrongs.
  • Given the progress that businesses have already made and the improving fundamentals for growth, the industrial sector - and the overall economy - may not be too far from righting itself.
1.2Redress or rectify (a wrong or mistaken action): she was determined to right the wrongs done to her father
More example sentences
  • Treaty settlements - righting the wrongs of the past - have accounted for about 0.1% of total government spending in the past five years.
  • And, let's face it, as well, I think, at that time, I also was attracted to the notion of being a trial lawyer, a courtroom lawyer, going in and righting the wrongs and defending the unjustly accused.
  • Now, 50 years after his death, Emmett Till has inspired a documentary aimed at righting a historic wrong.
1.3 (usually be righted) archaic Make reparation to (someone) for a wrong done to them: we’ll see you righted


1Used to indicate one’s agreement with a suggestion or to acknowledge a statement or order: “Barry’s here.” “Oh, right” right you are, sir
1.1Used at the end of a statement to invite agreement, approval, or confirmation: you went to see Angie on Monday, right?
More example sentences
  • Both of the things he said had to be questions surely, I mean, French is not that different right?
  • As long as he keeps his ugly face off screen, leaving only his annoying voice that is acceptable, right?
  • After the game Devon would be telling his mystery girl his true feelings, right?
1.2Used as a filler in speech or to introduce an utterance, exhortation, or suggestion: and I didn’t think any more of it, right, but Mom said I should take him to a doctor right, let’s have a drink



bang (or dead) to rights

informal (Of a criminal) with positive proof of guilt: we’ve got you bang to rights handling stolen property
More example sentences
  • The combination of the cards and the video meant that he was bang to rights as far as being there and taking something was concerned, and they are saying that now he is admitting it.
  • The downside of this will be that if I ever do commit any kind of crime then the police will pretty much have me bang to rights.
  • I knew I was going to get a ticket because I was bang to rights.

be in the right

Be morally or legally justified in one’s views, actions, or decisions.
Example sentences
  • Morally, the Americans were in the right - but they also had greater military success.
  • He might have been congratulating himself, but one would have to completely ignore his actions to believe that he was in the right.
  • They always believe themselves to be in the right, no matter how much wickedness they are mired in.

by rights

If things had happened or been done fairly or correctly: by rights, he should not be playing next week
More example sentences
  • In the Catholic church, the archbishops of Glasgow and Edinburgh are equal in rank, but, by rights, O'Brien is the senior partner because he has been in position for 17 years, and is the chair of the Catholic bishops' conference of Scotland.
  • And, by rights, I should marry her if she'd have me, but I am still a bit dubious.
  • Fields have been flooded throughout Tayside at a time when, by rights, they should have been full of combines.
properly, correctly, technically, in fairness;
legally, de jure

do right by

Treat (someone) fairly.
Example sentences
  • The general tone is set in this article about how ‘the absence of firm rules and responsible incentives’ has discouraged scientists and engineers from doing right by us all.
  • I have always believed in doing right by myself and not doing wrong to others.
  • But the one thing I do know is that I would have not been doing right by my kids at the time that they really needed me, and that would be something I would have had a hard time living with.

in one's own right

As a result of one’s own claims, qualifications, or efforts, rather than an association with someone else: he was already established as a poet in his own right
More example sentences
  • I suppose I would like to be recognised as a good player in my own right rather than a Paul McGrath want-to-be.
  • His newest work focuses, like Wilde, on a female lead, but the female here is an artist in her own right, rather than the wife of one.
  • She claimed asylum in her own right but, in fact, in February 1998 gave up her application and returned to Ecuador.

(not) in one's right mind

(Not) sane.
Example sentences
  • ‘Frank was not in his right mind when he set up the device,’ she said, referring to doctors' diagnoses of her husband as suffering from clinical depression.
  • In my opinion, Whitney was not in her right mind when we had our conversation.
  • No one in their right mind would consider an 80-year-old woman a military target.
sane, lucid, rational, balanced, together, compos mentis;
healthy, well
informal all there

not right in the head

informal (Of a person) not completely sane.
Example sentences
  • He said his sister was not right in the head, and had gone crazy and carried out the killings.
  • You have just proved you're not right in the head.
  • ‘Maybe he's not right in the head,’ he muttered, more to convince himself than Adam or his brothers.

(as) of right (or by right)

As a result of having a moral or legal claim or entitlement: the state will be obliged to provide health care and education as of right
More example sentences
  • Entry to higher education is also very commonly an entitlement, available by right to anyone who obtains the threshold entry certificate.
  • The circumstances are that there is a discretion under the Act for the Minister to allow a fresh application but there is no entitlement as of right.
  • It is not an entitlement as of right; it is the result of a negotiation.

put (or set) someone right

1Restore someone to health.
Example sentences
  • Having excited the driver's sympathy with this doleful mention of his wife we were driven round the corner to a cheerful looking café where the driver suggested we should have a cup of tea, because this was ‘sure to set us right.’
  • I always keep a packet of Kellogg's All Bran and whenever I am in danger, it puts me right again.
2Make someone understand the true facts of a situation.
Example sentences
  • The ‘After Hours’ quote has the central character getting something a little wrong, and the character who does the correcting flatly and contemptuously sets him right.
  • Fellow Mammoth Ellie may think she is a giant-sized possum (one of the more irritating story elements), but once she is set right, there seems a fair chance that mammoths might not face extinction after all.
  • And who better to set them right than a former TV talk show host, Labour MP and newspaper commentator?

put (or set) something to rights

Restore something to its correct or normal state or condition.
Example sentences
  • He also spoke with undisguised passion about doing good works - displaying all of the principled enthusiasm for setting the world to rights that we should hope to instil in all of our young people.
  • That isolation ended several hours ago, when Mrs. Bunyip's baby brother, the self-styled computer expert, arrived to set things to rights.
  • I also need to buy groceries and continue setting up - I've taken a day off this week from putting my apartment to rights, but that's not the way to get rid of the boxes.

(as) right as rain

informal (Of a person) feeling completely well or healthy, typically after an illness or minor accident.

right away

see straight away at straight.
Example sentences
  • Okay, it might not be perfect straight away but if he moved back in immediately they could work at it.
  • We got on well together immediately and felt like we knew each other right away.
  • Now what I notice straight off, is that the pentacle forms in each are facing the same direction, based on the map's key for North.
at once, straightaway, now, right now, this minute, this very minute, this instant, immediately, instantly, directly, forthwith, without further ado, promptly, quickly, without delay, as soon as possible, in short order
informal straight off, pretty damn quick, PDQ, ASAP, pronto, lickety-split

right enough

informal Certainly; undeniably: your record’s bad right enough
More example sentences
  • And right enough it happened - the gaffer got the phone call.
  • It will be nice to see him before the whistle goes, right enough.
  • They stood up to the occasion, right enough, but all over the pitch, in conditions more conducive to ice-skating, players from both sides were going down.

right on

informal Used an expression of strong support, approval, or encouragement. See also right-on.

a right one

British informal A silly or foolish person.
Example sentences
  • Well, there's been a few wrong ‘uns at the Lane of late and now the hot seat's got a right one in it!

she's (or she'll be) right

Australian informal That will be all right; don’t worry.
Example sentences
  • He looked at me, scarcely able to conceal his amusement, and said, ‘Don't worry, she'll be right, Pop, I'll keep a good eye on things.’
  • And when the light flicker, just as the plane is struck by lightning, you can turn to them and say, honestly I might add: ‘No worries mate, she'll be right’.
  • So during this week's slapdash, hit and miss, ‘no worries, she'll be right mate’ transit, your attention to detail and procedure is going to be deeply appreciated.





Example sentences
  • Sure, some animal righters have noble intentions.
  • In his eagerness to draw a connection between Jeffersonian states' righters, nullifiers, and secessionists, McDonald downplays the Jeffersonians' democratic commitments and casts southern secessionists as ‘libertarians.’
  • Far righters Phyllis Schlafly and James Dobson recently accused feminists of declaring a war on boys.


Example sentences
  • Ah, as usual, there is the wisdom of country/western lyrics; ‘Thank God for unanswered prayers’ I've thought more than once as I turned from my leftish past to my rightish present.
  • And as for the leftish flavor of Wright's messages, God knows the rightish ministers feel free to preach about social and political issues, so I suppose turnabout is fair play.
  • If I had my way, there would be a much higher skepticism quotient in general with regards to politicians, whether rightish or leftish (I often think that their very appetite for power disqualifies them from ever having it).


Old English riht (adjective and noun), rihtan (verb), rihte (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Latin rectus 'ruled', from an Indo-European root denoting movement in a straight line.

  • The root meaning of right is not a turn or side but movement in a straight line—the first senses were ‘straight, not curved’ and ‘direct, straight to the destination’ as well as ‘morally good, just’ and ‘true, correct’. Right as in the opposite of left is a later meaning that dates from the 13th century. The political application originated in the French National Assembly of 1789, in which the nobles as a body took the position of honour on the president's right, and the Third Estate—the French bourgeoisie and working class—sat on his left. A person who holds right-wing views of the most extreme kind can be described as being somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan. This expression uses Genghis Khan (1162–1227), the founder of the Mongol Empire, as a supreme example of a repressive and tyrannical ruler. The name of the early 5th-century warlord Attila the Hun, an equally dominant and brutal figure, is sometimes substituted for Genghis. See also dexter, rectangle, sinister

Words that rhyme with right

affright, alight, alright, aright, bedight, bight, bite, blight, bright, byte, cite, dight, Dwight, excite, fight, flight, fright, goodnight, height, ignite, impolite, indict, indite, invite, kite, knight, light, lite, might, mite, night, nite, outfight, outright, plight, polite, quite, rite, sight, site, skintight, skite, sleight, slight, smite, Snow-white, spite, sprite, tight, tonight, trite, twite, underwrite, unite, uptight, white, wight, wright, write

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: right

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