Definition of by rights in English:

by rights

phrase

  • If things had happened or been done fairly or correctly.

    ‘by rights, he should not be playing next week’
    • ‘Because if securing male votes was what winning a general election was all about, then by rights the Labour party would have won every general election since 1945.’
    • ‘Born in Motherwell, into a family where the men were steelworkers, welders or fitters, and the women were nurses or hospital workers, his political interests should by rights have led him into the Labour party organisation.’
    • ‘In the Catholic church, the archbishops of Glasgow and Edinburgh are equal in rank, but, by rights, O'Brien is the senior partner because he has been in position for 17 years, and is the chair of the Catholic bishops' conference of Scotland.’
    • ‘As the article makes clear, he is one of Britain's best young film actors, but his dedication to home-grown cinema has meant that he's missed out on the big starring roles that should have been his by rights.’
    • ‘Where are the reports on these trips that the commissioner, by rights, should have given to the Parliament to scrutinise to ascertain the value of the trips?’
    • ‘And, by rights, I should marry her if she'd have me, but I am still a bit dubious.’
    • ‘Many readers will love following Lee's journey, but others will find the author's method a stumbling block in what should have been, by rights, a brilliant book.’
    • ‘Bill Wilde's biography and the volume of her letters which he and Tom Inglis Moore brought out in 1980 should, by rights, have won her new readers, yet the reverse appears to have happened.’
    • ‘Fields have been flooded throughout Tayside at a time when, by rights, they should have been full of combines.’
    • ‘He said: ‘Now the Deputy PM is being even more useful as he takes all the flak that should by rights be targeted at his boss.’’
    properly, in fairness, correctly, legally, technically, in conscience, in all conscience
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