dead to rights


In the act of committing an error or crime, red-handed. For example, They caught the burglars dead to rights with the Oriental rugs. This phrase uses to rights in the sense of “at once.” [Slang; mid-1800s]

QUIZZES

DISCOVER THE INFLUENCE OF PORTUGUESE ON ENGLISH VIA THIS QUIZ!

We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.