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 He was also sued recently in New York federal court by Citgo’s new board appointed by Juan Guaidó, the head of Congress recognized by the U.S. as Venezuela’s rightful leader. Joshua Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "Sources: Venezuela wooed Texas Republican to ease sanctions," 22 June 2020 Nearly 60 other countries and the U.S. have also recognized Guaidó as Venezuela's rightful leader, and Mr. Trump met with Guaidó at the White House in February. Sara Cook, CBS News, "Trump indicates he's open to meeting with Venezuela's Maduro," 22 June 2020 China’s Communist Party leadership views pressing its territorial claims as central to its legitimacy and restoring the nation to its rightful standing in the world. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Behind deadly clash with India, a pattern of Chinese assertiveness," 19 June 2020 Here's hoping for a post-pandemic future that puts them to their rightful end. Maimuna S. Majumder, Wired, "Coronavirus Researchers Are Dismantling Science’s Ivory Tower—One Study at a Time," 18 June 2020 Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, PT Sir is a gym teacher involved in a right-wing political party, and Lovely is an outcast who holds the key to each of them achieving their dreams of glory and rightful innocence. Kami Phillips, CNN Underscored, "25 books that make for a perfect summer read," 18 June 2020 Our active duty military must remain above the fray of domestic politics, and the best way to do that is to keep that force focused on its rightful mission outside the United States. James Stavridis, Time, "I Spent My Career in the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Military Must Stand Up for Its Soul in This Moment," 3 June 2020 Combining the threat of publishing the data while simultaneously locking it from its rightful owner is designed to increase the chances of a payout. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Ransomware gang is auctioning off victims’ confidential data," 2 June 2020 Who’s going to carry it back to its rightful place? Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Up to 4,000 postal workers may have coronavirus," 3 June 2020

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

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

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Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rightful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rightful. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for rightful


How to pronounce rightful (audio)

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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