Definition of right noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//raɪt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//raɪt//
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    something morally good
  1. 1  [uncountable, countable] what is morally good or correct She doesn't understand the difference between right and wrong. You did right to tell me about it. They both had some right on their side. He wouldn't apologize. He knew he was in the right (= had justice on his side). It was difficult to establish the rights and wrongs (= the true facts) of the matter. opposite wrong
  2. moral/legal claim
  3. 2  [countable, uncountable] a moral or legal claim to have or get something or to behave in a particular way right (to something) Everyone has a right to a fair trial. right (to do something) You have no right to stop me from going in there. What gives you the right to do that? She had every right to be angry. You're quite within your rights to ask for your money back. By rights (= if justice were done) half the money should be mine. There is no right of appeal against the decision. Education is provided by the state as of right (= everyone has a right to it). The property belongs to her by right. They had fought hard for equal rights. see also animal rights, civil rights, human right Culturefreedom and rightsMany of the rights of US citizens are laid down in the Constitution and the first ten amendments to it, which are together called the Bill of Rights. The Constitution was written in the late 1700s to explain not only how the US government would work , but also what limits there would be on its power. At that time, people were beginning to believe that the rights of individuals were important, and that the government was the main threat to those rights. Limiting the federal governments' power was also seen as necessary to protect the rights of states within the United States.Britain does not have a written constitution or legal document describing the rights of individuals but for British people freedom to live without interference from government is important. Proposals to introduce identity cards for everyone are always resisted and people often talk about the nanny state when they feel the government is interfering in their lives.In Britain and the US the most basic rights include freedom of expression (= freedom to say or write what you think), freedom of choice (= freedom to make decisions about your own life) and freedom of worship (= freedom to practise any religion).Freedom of expression does not imply complete freedom for people to say what they like. In the US the First Amendment protects freedom of speech and of the press but the courts, especially the Supreme Court, decide how it should be applied. For instance, a newspaper is not allowed to print something bad about a person that is known not to be true: this is libel. The courts do not practise prior restraint, i.e. they cannot stop a newspaper from printing something, but they can punish the newspaper afterwards. However, in a few cases, e.g. when national security is involved, the courts may order newspapers not to print a report.The right to free speech in the US has not always been respected. In the 1950s, when McCarthyism was at its height, people who were suspected of being Communists were called before Congress to answer questions. People who used their right to free speech and said they believed in Communism, or who took the Fifth, i.e. used their right under the Fifth Amendment not to give evidence against themselves, often lost their jobs or went to prison.In Britain until 1968 all plays had to be approved by the Lord Chamberlain before they could be performed in theatres. Censorship of the press ended in the 1960s. Newspapers are expected to behave responsibly and members of the public have the right to complain about what is published in the press to the Press Complaints Commission. Recently there have been complaints about newspapers secretly listening to and reading people's phone messages. This practice is known as phone hacking and in 2011 a commission was set up under a senior judge, Lord Justice Leveson, to investigate this and other aspects of the British press. The commission proposed that an independent organization should replace the Press Complaints Commission.The right of equal opportunity (= the right to be treated the same as others, regardless of race, sex, etc.) is enforced in Britain through the Race Relations Acts and the Sex Discrimination Act. In the US the civil rights movement of the 1960s influenced the making of new laws to protect the rights of minority groups, especially African Americans. In 1972 an Equal Rights Amendment, which would have given women the same rights and opportunities as men, failed to get the support of enough states to be passed. Later, however, several laws were passed making it illegal to discriminate against women. In Britain the Human Rights Act was passed in 1998, which stated that public organizations had to follow the principles listed in the European Convention on Human Rights.People in Britain and the US have a much valued right to privacy. The US and British Freedom of Information Acts and the British Data Protection Act allow a person access to information held about them and the opportunity to correct it if it is wrong.In the US several amendments to the Constitution deal specifically with the rights of people suspected or accused of a crime. In Britain recent changes to habeas corpus (= the right of a person detained by the police to be released within 24 hours if not charged) and the right to remain silent when arrested, which were introduced as part of the laws against terrorism, met with strong opposition from many people. It is now possible for the police to keep a person for 28 days before they are charged. In both Britain and the US the police are heavily criticized if people's rights are infringed.In the US an individual's right to own weapons continues to cause disagreement. When this right was included in the Second Amendment, America had just finished fighting for independence. Since the US did not want to keep a permanent army, its defence in the case of future attacks depended on ordinary people having weapons. Many people believe that, since the US now has a professional army, individuals do not need guns, and that the interpretation of the amendment should take account of the modern situation. But others want to keep the right to have weapons and resist any changes to the law. This view is put forward especially by the National Rifle Association. See related entries: Online shopping, Social justice
  4. for book/movie, etc.
  5. 3  rights [plural] the authority to perform, publish, film, etc. a particular work, event, etc. He sold the rights for $2 million. all rights reserved (= protected or kept for the owners of the book, film/movie, etc.)
  6. not left side
  7. 4  the/somebody’s right [singular] the right side or direction Take the first street on the right. She seated me on her right. opposite left
  8. 5  [singular] the first, second, etc. right the first, second, etc. road on the right side Take the first right, then the second left. opposite left
  9. 6a right [singular] a turn to the right to make a right (North American English, informal) to hang a right opposite left
  10. politics
  11. 7   the right, the Right [singular + singular or plural verb] political groups that most strongly support the capitalist system compare right wing The Right in British politics is represented by the Conservative Party. opposite left
  12. 8  the right [singular + singular or plural verb] the part of a political party whose members are most conservative He's on the right of the Labour Party. opposite left
  13. in boxing
  14. 9[countable] a blow that is made with your right hand
  15. opposite left
    Word OriginOld English riht (adjective and noun), rihtan (verb), rihte (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Latin rectus ‘ruled’, from an Indo-European root denoting movement in a straight line.Extra examples A man had a natural right to subsist off the crops he grew on his own land. Abortion rights have been restricted in some places. Altman secured the movie rights. Any employee who is fired has an automatic right to appeal. Children of that age don’t know right from wrong. Do I have any right to compensation? He claimed full rights over the discovery. He has reserved the movie rights. He renounced his right to the throne. He sold the film rights for $2 million. He’s on the extreme right of the party. I appealed against the decision because I knew I had right on my side. I have a perfect right to park here if I want to. I reserve the right to leave at any time I choose. I suppose you think you have some God-given right to tell me what to do? Keep over to the right. Look out for traffic coming from the right. Lucas owned the marketing rights. Many prisoners lost visitation rights and had their mail confiscated. Ours is the first house on the right. She has every right to feel bitter. Take a right at the traffic lights. Take the first right, and then it’s the second on your left. The Normans ruled England by right of conquest. The books are numbered from right to left. The company was granted offshore oil-drilling rights. The constitution guarantees basic human rights. The government extended voting rights to everyone over the age of 18. The landlord enforced his right to enter the property. The local authority exercises parental rights over the children until foster homes are found. The new president undertook to establish full rights for all minorities. The property belongs to her as of right. The team earned the bragging rights by taking first place in all three events. The teenagers claimed squatters’ rights and were allowed to remain in the building. There is no public right of way across the fields. There’s no doubt that he’s in the right on this. These additional guarantees do not affect your statutory rights. They acquired her patent rights. They gave me my uncle’s money, on condition that I waived all rights to his property. They have no right to come onto my land. We have a sovereign right to conduct scientific research on our soil. We promote the rights of communities. We sat discussing the rights and wrongs of the prison system. We were granted the exclusive rights to produce the software in Malaysia. You can’t do that to me—I know my rights. You have a moral right to that money. You should stand up for your rights and insist that he pays you. You’re acting entirely within your rights. a hallway immediately to the right of the front door animal rights campaigners equal rights for all human rights violations laws covering privacy rights roads where bikes have the right of way the basic rights of all citizens the civil rights movement the individual rights of its constituents the old idea of the divine right of kings the right of assembly/​asylum/​citizenship/​free speech/​ownership At that time, the gay rights movement had hardly been heard of. Before the late 19th century, little attention was paid to women’s rights. By rights half the money should be mine. Education is provided by the state as of right. Everyone has the right to a fair trial. It was difficult to establish the rights and wrongs of the matter. People should understand that they have responsibilities as well as rights. She’s a well-known animal rights campaigner. They both knew he was in the right. They had forfeited the right to return to their country. They have always fought hard for equal rights. They think they have a god-given right to park wherever they like. This is a fundamental human right. We’re calling on all oppressed peoples to stand up for their rights. What gives you the right to do that? You have a statutory right to your money back if goods are faulty. You have absolutely no rights over the child. You have no right to stop me from going in there. You’re quite within your rights to ask for your money back.Idioms
    bang to rights (British English) (North American English dead to rights)
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    (informal) with definite proof of having committed a crime, so that you cannot claim to be innocent We've got you bang to rights handling stolen property.
    (old-fashioned) to treat somebody fairly because of your personal qualifications or efforts, not because of your connection with somebody else She sings with a rock band, but she's also a jazz musician in her own right.
    put/set somebody/something to rights
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    to correct somebody/something; to put things in their right places or right order It took me ages to put things to rights after the workmen had left.
    set/put the world to rights
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    to talk about how the world could be changed to be a better place We stayed up all night, setting the world to rights.
    two wrongs don’t make a right
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    (saying) used to say that if somebody does something bad to you, the situation will not be improved by doing something bad to them
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: right