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 rightful (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 meme was certified by Know Your Meme, the internet meme database, to ensure that the meme was being sold by its rightful owner. NBC News, 11 June 2021 Some lenders who received the erroneous payments respected principles of basic fairness, as well as longstanding commercial practice and law, and returned almost one-half of the money to its rightful owner. Jonathan Macey, WSJ, 8 June 2021 Police contacted the rightful owner, who picked them up at 1:11 p.m. cleveland, 21 May 2021 By responding to the police raid and tensions in East Jerusalem with rocket attacks, analysts said, Hamas appears to be trying to position itself as a defender of Jerusalem and rightful leader of Palestinians. Washington Post, 13 May 2021 Black classical artists, and indeed, all artists of color, are rightful inheritors of this tradition. Aj Willingham, CNN, 30 May 2021 Any debate about who will end his career with the most Grand Slam singles titles and have a rightful claim to being the greatest quickly becomes reductive. New York Times, 30 May 2021 Returning to the month of May after being played in September last year due to the pandemic, the event is back in its rightful spot on the calendar — except for being delayed by a week because of COVID-19 concerns. Editors, USA TODAY, 29 May 2021 Alongside Sancho, there is rightful talk of West Ham United’s Declan Rice, who has been coveted by major teams in England and now in Europe. Liam Canning, Forbes, 28 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for rightful

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rightful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rightful. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for rightful



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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