Definition of rightful in US English:



  • 1attributive Having a legitimate right to property, position, or status.

    ‘the rightful owner of the jewels’
    • ‘Land that's occupied must be returned to its rightful owners, he says.’
    • ‘But the local education authority has instructed a solicitor to establish who the rightful owner is.’
    • ‘Who are the rightful heirs of Babylon or the Ottoman Empire?’
    • ‘Halifax Bank is trying to reunited £15m of its shares with their rightful Scottish owners.’
    • ‘He then thought he would do the responsible thing by trying to return the property to its rightful owner.’
    • ‘He was traced ten years later and restored to his rightful position in the lineage.’
    • ‘It will also allow us to return any property that is stolen to its rightful owners.’
    • ‘The latter have no wish to return that land to its rightful owners.’
    • ‘The hoard of silver was found inside the box and Mr Manning established that he was the rightful heir to the property.’
    • ‘Detectives from Scotland Yard's art and antiques squad are hoping to return the possessions to their rightful owners.’
    • ‘Encouraged by some of his friends, he tried to declare himself the rightful heir.’
    • ‘Whether she finally acknowledged James VI of Scotland as her rightful successor will never be known for certain.’
    • ‘Property belongs to the rightful owner, to lawfully use as he or she sees fit.’
    • ‘She even insisted that Mary was the rightful heir to the throne of England.’
    • ‘We urge residents to let us know if they suspect anyone of not being the rightful occupier of a property.’
    • ‘He was the rightful heir, as the only child of the Barlow family.’
    • ‘It is my firm view that the rightful owners of the Lissadell Estate have not been compensated for their losses.’
    • ‘Mr Cash is currently working on uncovering the missing pieces of Anne's life in the hope that it will lead him to the rightful heir of the fortune.’
    • ‘Paul believed that ‘fate had decided’ he should find the ring and he set about trying to find its rightful owner.’
    • ‘In Mrs Laverty's case it shouldn't have been too difficult to establish that the rightful owner was using the parking bay.’
    legal, lawful, licit, sanctioned
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    1. 1.1 Legitimately claimed; fitting.
      ‘they are determined to take their rightful place in a new South Africa’
      • ‘Franklin sat his steaming cup of coffee down and took his rightful place behind his large mahogany desk.’
      • ‘The television has at last gained its rightful and proper place as household god, oracle and shrine.’
      • ‘It makes me happy to think that soon my generation can help Romania get to their rightful place among the best teams of the world.’
      • ‘On St. Patrick's Day, in Croke Park, the club had its rightful place in the sun.’
      • ‘That great party used to fume and fizz if in a single freak election it was denied its rightful place as the natural party of government.’
      • ‘Johannesburg is about to take its rightful place as one of South Africa's premier tourism destinations.’
      • ‘In essence, Sligo would claim its rightful place as capital of the North West.’
      • ‘Before then, Johnson has the small matter of restoring Leicester to what he believes is his club's rightful place.’
      • ‘Taken together, this restores patients to their rightful place as the experts in their own health and genuine partners in care.’
      • ‘You see, we don't want to change the world - we just want our rightful place in it.’
      • ‘After seven lean years in the lower divisions, the Jags are back in their rightful position in the premier.’
      • ‘We shall also have the Christ child taking his rightful place in the Christmas season.’
      • ‘Did Bobkov say that he wished this to take its rightful place in the history books?’
      • ‘She stressed that women should take their rightful place in the commanding heights of the country's economy.’
      • ‘He takes his rightful place among the elite, and the world in which the best and brightest are rewarded is saved again.’
      • ‘But now we can take our rightful place at the head of, and slightly left of, society.’
      • ‘It was a match to remember, a player with a touch of genius restoring a dampened Wimbledon to its rightful place as the epitome of tennis.’
      • ‘There's a mountain of work to be done if they are to get back their rightful place in senior ranks.’
      • ‘There is no question that he has found his rightful place in the pack.’
      • ‘It would also restore France to what it sees as its rightful place as leader of Europe.’
      deserved, well deserved, merited, earned, well earned
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Old English rihtful ‘upright, righteous’ (see right, -ful). The notion of ‘legitimacy’ dates from Middle English.