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 Others saw it as a swift lesson in the art of rightful pettiness. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nancy Pelosi Has an "Impeachment Dress"," 14 Jan. 2021 An eponymous novella and sharp collection of stories mainly centering on Black women as the rightful revisionists of a history that tries to erase them. BostonGlobe.com, "Best Books of 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Sending good vibes to all the Lime scooters finally returning to their rightful homes. Andrea Park, Marie Claire, "The 26 Best Memes of 2020," 22 Dec. 2020 If a rightful participant in their title games had to drop out, those leagues would have canceled. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Opinion: How the Pac-12 Conference bungled its football postseason," 19 Dec. 2020 If the film industry gets back to an existence that looks anything like it did before, here's hoping Haas' work eventually gets its rightful theater full of onlookers (ideally with an even longer runtime). Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "The 15 best films of a bizarre (and probably historic) year for film," 19 Dec. 2020 There is not going to be a eureka moment, in which Republicans realize their assaults on democracy are futile and harmful and that Biden is the country’s rightful and legitimate president. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Republicans Will Never Accept the Election Results," 17 Dec. 2020 For the first time since World War II forced the Rose Bowl eastward to Durham, N.C., in 1942, serious consideration has been given this year to the game not being played at its rightful home in Pasadena. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "ESPN could play an influential role in keeping 2021 Rose Bowl game in Pasadena," 15 Dec. 2020 Separated from his litter as a puppy, Archie was just awaiting the unlikely sequence of events that would reveal him as the Earl of Lonsdale, rightful heir to a vast fortune. Washington Post, "We had our dog’s DNA tested. We’re not sure we believe the results.," 13 Dec. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rightful

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rightful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rightful. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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