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[rahyt-fuh l] /ˈraɪt fəl/
having a valid or just claim, as to some property or position; legitimate:
the rightful owner of the farm.
belonging or held by a valid or just claim:
one's rightful property.
equitable or just, as actions or a cause.
proper; appropriate; fitting.
Origin of rightful
late Old English
before 1150; Middle English; late Old English rihtful; see right (noun), -ful
Related forms
rightfully, adverb
rightfulness, noun
unrightful, adjective
unrightfully, adverb
unrightfulness, noun
Can be confused
right, righteous, rightful (see usage note at right) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for rightful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No thought of giving his sister-in-law her rightful due entered his mind.

    Mark Mason's Victory Horatio Alger
  • Tell me, my lady-queen, how to espouse850 This wayward brother to his rightful joys!

    Endymion John Keats
  • Yes, they had been hours of love claiming its rightful expression over the more constant hours of daily living.

    Claire Leslie Burton Blades
  • Jemmy Three, like Jem One, had missed his rightful share of schooling.

    Judith Lynn Annie Hamilton Donnell
  • Of all kinds of religion this alone can claim universal adaptation and rightful supremacy.

British Dictionary definitions for rightful


in accordance with what is right; proper or just
(prenominal) having a legally or morally just claim: the rightful owner
(prenominal) held by virtue of a legal or just claim: my rightful property
Derived Forms
rightfully, adverb
rightfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rightful

Old English rihtful; see right (adj.1) + -ful. Related: Rightfully; rightfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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