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 This is even more amazing considering the bridge was replaced about 15 years ago Sadly, police said the rightful owner of the car has passed away. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Indiana fisherman finds Chevrolet Camaro stolen in 1988 at the bottom of reservoir," 14 Oct. 2020 The critiques of Ferraro, and of Sarah Palin during the 2008 election cycle, didn’t always summon fears of Lady Macbeth—sometimes the goal just seemed to be to push the ladies back into their rightful place. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Why Women Can’t Want," 7 Oct. 2020 From there, the rightful owner could determine the PC’s IP address, approximate location, and other details. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Custom-made UEFI bootkit found lurking in the wild," 5 Oct. 2020 That angel was taken down for repairs amid the iconic structure’s ongoing renovation and refurbishment but will definitely regain his rightful place on the historic building. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Statue of limitations? Under Russell Nelson, fewer and fewer temples have an Angel Moroni," 2 Oct. 2020 To win the war, to restore its rightful place of mastery, America would have to get tough. Stephen Wertheim, The New Yorker, "How Trump Brought Home the Endless War," 1 Oct. 2020 Upon learning that the painting was taken illegally, the collector willingly released it to HSI to be returned to its rightful owner in Italy, the statement said. Kelsie Smith, CNN, "ICE recovers 19th century painting stolen from Italian monastery," 3 Sep. 2020 These marks, which state the name of the library, are meant to do two things: identify the rightful owner and destroy the value of the book for resale. Travis Mcdade, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Inside Story of the $8 Million Heist From the Carnegie Library," 18 Aug. 2020 Black Americans were demanding their rightful seats on buses and places in classrooms. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | DAVID VON DREHLE: Memorial to leadership," 19 Sep. 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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rightful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rightful. Accessed 26 Oct. 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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