Meaning of “right” in the English Dictionary

"right" in British English

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uk /raɪt/ us /raɪt/

right adjective (CORRECT)

A1 correct:

You got three answers right and two wrong.
I set the clock to the right time.
"Is that Ms Kramer?" "Yes, that's right."
Am I right in thinking (= is it true) that you will be at the conference?
You're right to be annoyed - you've been treated very badly.
You must put matters right (= make the situation better) by telling the truth.

A1 If you are right about something or someone, you are correct in your judgment or statement about it, him, or her:

You were right about Pete - he's a real troublemaker.

More examples

  • "I think you're absolutely right," concurred Chris.
  • "Was it wrong of me to go to the police?" "Oh no, I'm sure you did the right thing."
  • I have a faint suspicion that you may be right!
  • I'm fairly sure that this is the right address.
  • Take a chance and follow your nose - you may be right!

right adjective (SUITABLE)

B1 suitable or correct, or as it should be:

He's the right person for the job.
I think you've made the right decision.
The temperature of the swimming pool was just right (= exactly as I wanted it).
That hat looks just right on you.
He thought the time was right to let his intentions be known.

used to refer to a person who is considered to be socially important or a place that such people go to:

She knows all the right people.
He likes to be seen in the right clubs and restaurants.
the right way round/up UK US the right way around/up

in the correct position:

The lid has to go on the right way round or it won't fit.
Keep the bottle the right way up.

More examples

  • She fished in her tool box for the right spanner.
  • She knew that Dave wasn't the right man for her but she couldn't deny the animal attraction between them.
  • I was fumbling for the right word.
  • Apropos what you said yesterday, I think you made the right decision.
  • This carpet would be just right for the dining room.

right adjective (MORALLY ACCEPTABLE)

B2 [ after verb ] considered fair or morally acceptable by most people:

I don't believe they should have put him in prison. It isn't right.
[ + to infinitive ] It's not right to criticize people behind their back.
[ + that ] It is only (= completely) right that men and women should be paid the same for doing the same work.

More examples

  • "Was it wrong of me to go to the police?" "Oh no, I'm sure you did the right thing."
  • I'm sure you did the right thing in telling her about the problem.
  • It's not right to treat another human being like that.
  • It's only right that the two children be treated the same.
  • I don't think it's right to spend so much money on yourself.

right adjective (DIRECTION)

A2 on or towards the side of your body that is to the east when you are facing north:

Most people write with their right hand.
He likes to sleep on the right side of the bed.

More examples

  • He wrenched his right shoulder during a game of hockey.
  • In the US, you drive on the right side of the road, but in Britain the converse applies.


uk /raɪt/ us /raɪt/

right adverb (DIRECTION)

A2 on or towards the side of your body that is to the east when you are facing north:

Turn/Go right (= take the road on the right) at the first traffic lights.

right adverb (EXACTLY)

B1 exactly or all the way:

I've got a pimple right on the end of my nose.
They built a row of hotels right along the sea-front.

used for emphasis:

The car ran right (= completely) out of fuel.
She walked right (= all the way) past me without noticing me.
I'll be right back/I'll be right with you (= I will return very soon).
right away/now

B1 immediately:

You'd better leave right now.
right now

at the present time:

We're very busy right now.


uk /raɪt/ us /raɪt/

right noun (DIRECTION)

A2 [ S ] the right side:

English is written and read from left to right.
King's Avenue is the first right (= the first road on the right side).
In this photo, my wife is the woman standing on/to my right.
US I took/made (informal hung) a right (= turned into the next road on the right side) after crossing the bridge.

More examples

  • Italic writing slants to the right.
  • Tens go in the left-hand column and units in the right.
  • We have to turn down/into/up the next road on the right.
  • Ours is the third road on the right.
  • Go up the stairs and her office is on the right.

right noun (POLITICS)

the right also the Right [ S, + sing/pl verb ]

More examples

  • He's certainly on the right.
  • The right campaigned against the president.
  • Politicians on the right are naturally in favour of the proposal.
  • The far right are gaining in popularity.
  • She's on the right of the party.

C2 political parties or people that have traditional opinions, and that believe in low taxes, property, and industry being privately owned, and less help for the poor:

The right was/were in power after 1979.
He's a man of the far (= extreme) right.


B2 [ U ] what is considered to be morally good or acceptable:

Your conscience should tell you the difference between right and wrong.
in the right

If you are in the right, what you are doing is morally or legally correct.

B2 [ C or U ] the fact that a person or animal can expect to be treated in a fair, morally acceptable, or legal way, or to have the things that are necessary for life:

She campaigned for women's rights during the 1960s.
Everyone has a right to education.
She has no more right to a company car than I have (= she does not deserve one more than I do).
[ + to infinitive ] You're not my boss, so what right (= authority) do you have to tell me what to do?
You have every right (= you have a good reason) to complain.
within your rights

If you are within your rights to do something, you are legally allowed to do it:

I think I'm quite within my rights to demand a full refund.
rights [ plural ]

legal controls over who is allowed to use a book or film:

He has acquired the film rights to the book (= he is allowed to make a film of the book).

new shares in a particular company that have become available for people to buy who already own shares:

The company made a rights issue of one new share for every four held.
put/set sth to rights

to improve or correct something:

The company needs over a million dollars to set its finances to rights.

More examples

  • Freedom of speech is a cherished right in this country.
  • These organizations have fought very hard for the rights and welfare of immigrants.
  • She's also a veteran campaigner for human rights.
  • Freedom of speech should be a constitutional right.
  • Just because you've been promoted that doesn't give you a divine right to tell us all what to do.


uk /raɪt/ us /raɪt/ informal

right exclamation (AGREEMENT)

A2 used to express agreement with someone or to show that you have understood what someone has said:

"Johnny, you climb up first." "Right."

A2 said when you want to make a group of people notice you, especially so that you can start an activity:

Right, everyone. Could you all stop talking, and then we'll begin.

said between parts of a story that you are telling, in order to make certain that people are paying attention and understanding:

So there I was right, middle of the night, right, and this guy came up to me...

More examples

  • "You start work on that pile then." "Right."
  • "We'll pick you up at eight o'clock." "Right."
  • Right, we've got a lot of work to get through so we'd better start now.
  • Right, if you're ready, I'll begin.
  • Right, if you don't mind I'd like to start this session.

rightverb [ T ]

uk /raɪt/ us /raɪt/

(Definition of “right” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"right" in American English

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rightadjective, adverb

us /rɑɪt/

right adjective, adverb (CORRECT)

correct, true, or exact:

He said the trip would take two hours and he was absolutely/exactly right.
My watch has stopped – do you have the right time?
Ellen is the right person for the job.
She got every answer right.

right adjective, adverb (SUITABLE)

suitable or desirable, or as it should be:

[ + to infinitive ] He thought the time was right to expand his new business.
That hat looks just right on you.

right adjective, adverb (HEALTHY)

[ not gradable ] healthy, or working correctly:

I haven’t felt right all day.

right adjective, adverb (MORAL RULE)

[ not gradable ] considered fair or morally acceptable by most people:

It isn’t right to tell a lie.


us /rɑɪt/

right adjective (WISE)

having or showing good judgment; wise:

[ + to infinitive ] The president was right to veto that bill.
I think we reached the right conclusion.


us /rɑɪt/


social studies [ C ] your opportunity to act and to be treated in particular ways that the law promises to protect for the benefit of society:

civil/human rights
You have a right to a trial by jury.
[ + to infinitive ] Patients have a right to keep their medical records confidential.
The dispute is over fishing rights.

right noun (POLITICS)

rightadjective, adverb, noun [ C/U ]

us /rɑɪt/

right adjective, adverb, noun [ C/U ] (DIRECTION)

the side of the body opposite the side that contains the heart, or the direction that is the opposite of left:

Most people throw a ball with their right hand.
Our house is on the right.
[ C ] After you go over the bridge, make a right (= turn to the right).


us /rɑɪt/

right exclamation (AGREEMENT)

used to express agreement with someone or to show that you have understood what someone has said:

"Robert, be sure to pick up Susan on your way home." "Right."

rightadverb [ not gradable ]

us /rɑɪt/

right adverb [ not gradable ] (EXACTLY)

exactly; just:

I’m too busy to talk right now but I’ll get back to you later.
He sat right behind me.
I’ll be right back (= I will return very soon).

(Definition of “right” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"right" in Business English

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uk /raɪt/ us

[ C or U ] someone who has the right to something, or the right to do something, is allowed to have it or do it, often legally or officially:

have a right to sth Everybody has a right to equal treatment.
have the right to do sth Shareholders have the right to vote on the appointment of a new CEO.
She is a leading campaigner for consumer rights.
human/civil rights
rights [ plural ]

LAW if a person, company, or organization has the rights to something, they are legally allowed to buy, sell, broadcast, etc. that thing:

If the group loses the court case, it will lose its exclusive rights to broadcast live games.
distribution rights
film/TV/broadcasting rights
all rights reserved

LAW a phrase used to show that a particular person or particular people own the rights to a book, film, etc.

rights [ plural ]

STOCK MARKET new shares in a particular company that have become available for existing shareholders to buy:

The company made a rights issue of one new share for every four held.

(Definition of “right” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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