right·​ful | \ ˈrīt-fəl How to pronounce rightful (audio) \

Definition of rightful

2a : having a just or legally established claim : legitimate the rightful owner
b : held by right or just claim : legal rightful authority
3 : proper, fitting assured of his rightful place in history— Brian Duff

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Other Words from rightful

rightfully \ ˈrīt-​fə-​lē How to pronounce rightfully (audio) \ adverb
rightfulness noun

Examples of rightful in a Sentence

The property should be returned to its rightful owner. He will be given his rightful place in the history books.

Recent Examples on the Web

The Dudes and really everyone else have taken their rightful position at the lanes. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "10 hours, 3 festivals: What Forecastle, Lebowski Fest and Jane Austen have in common," 14 July 2019 Or Satchel Paige, who had to wait until his forties for the major leagues to integrate and give him his rightful chance—and then refused to walk away, pitching his final three innings, for the Kansas City A’s, at the age of fifty-eight. Ian Crouch, The New Yorker, "Jim Bouton Was Baseball’s Misunderstood Evangelist," 11 July 2019 Despite Martin’s rightful complaints about unprofessional practices, which also abound in other industries, her good work defies industry stereotypes and sets up American cinema’s artistic potential. Armond White, National Review, "The New York Times’ Black-Film Roundtable Ignores Black American Excellence," 10 July 2019 Yet the opposition — led by Juan Guaidó, who has been recognized by more than 50 countries including the United States as Venezuela’s rightful ruler — is also running out of time and, potentially, steam. Washington Post, "As Venezuelan talks resume, the opposition debates concessions over Maduro’s exit," 10 July 2019 Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court is an important victory for African Americans in Virginia who have been forced to vote in racially gerrymandered districts that kept rightful power away from them. Terry Collins, Fortune, "What Is Gerrymandering? Supreme Court Decision Favors Democrats," 17 June 2019 Unions said the measure denied rightful benefits to workers, wouldn’t deliver the city the financial rewards backers promised and would lead to staffing problems. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego makes pension move but long slog remains," 12 June 2019 The Toronto players seemed determined to prove themselves the rightful champions in 2017, blowing away the field in going 20-5-9 for a then-record 69 points before pasting the Sounders 2-0 in a finals rematch. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "A rivalry of champions once again has Sounders and Toronto FC on a collision course," 12 Apr. 2019 City officials claim the funeral homes did not have a legal right to sell the property and that the rightful owner is the city. Fox News, "Texas city takes down church's 'Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins' sign overnight," 2 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rightful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rightful

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for rightful

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for rightful

The first known use of rightful was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of rightful

: according to the law
: proper or appropriate


right·​ful | \ ˈrīt-fəl How to pronounce rightful (audio) \

Kids Definition of rightful

: lawful sense 2, proper … Grace had convinced herself that she was the rightful heir.— Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game

Other Words from rightful

rightfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb The money is rightfully his.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rightful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rightful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rightful

Spanish Central: Translation of rightful

Nglish: Translation of rightful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rightful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rightful

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something desired as essential

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