1 a : qualities (as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval
b : something that is morally just

  • able to distinguish right from wrong
2 : something to which one has a just claim: as
a : a power, privilege, or condition of existence to which one has a natural claim of enjoyment or possession

  • the right of liberty
  • that all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights
  • Declaration of Independence

— see also natural right

b : a power, privilege, immunity, or capacity the enjoyment of which is secured to a person by law

  • one’s constitutional rights
c : a legally enforceable claim against another that the other will do or will not do a given act

  • the defendant may be under a legal duty…to exercise reasonable care for the plaintiff’s safety, so that the plaintiff has a corresponding legal right to insist on that care
  • —W. L. Prosser and W. P. Keeton
d : the interest that one has in property : a claim or title to property often used in pl.

  • leasing mineral rights

— see also real right

e plural : the interest in property possessed (as under copyright law) in an intangible thing and especially an item of intellectual property

  • obtained publishing rights
3 : a privilege given stockholders to subscribe pro rata to a new issue of securities generally below market price


play \-fəl\ adjective


play \-fə-lē\ adverb

of right

1 : as an absolute right
2 : demandable or enforceable under the law

  • an appeal of right