Meaning of RIGHT in English

I. right 1 S1 W1 /raɪt/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: adverb : ↑ right , ↑ rightly , ↑ rightfully , righeously, righteousness; noun : ↑ right , ↑ rightness , rights, ↑ righteousness ; adjective : ↑ right , ↑ righteous , ↑ rightful ; verb : ↑ right ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: riht ]


a) a statement or piece of information that is right is correct and based on true facts SYN correct OPP wrong :

Yes, that’s the right answer.

Is that the right time?

I got most of the questions right.

His ideas have now been proved right.

b) [not before noun] if you are right, you have said something that is correct and based on true facts OPP wrong :

I think you’re right. We should have set out earlier.

right about

You were right about the hotel being too crowded.

I think the Prime Minister is only half right.

Am I right in thinking that you two have met before?

2 . SUITABLE the right thing, person, method etc is the one that is most suitable or effective OPP wrong :

I think you’ve made the right decision.

I think she’s definitely the right person for the job.

right for

A huge development like this isn’t right for such a small village.

3 . SIDE [only before noun]

a) your right side is the side with the hand that most people write with OPP left :

He had a knife in his right hand.

a scar on the right side of her face

b) on the same side of something as your right side OPP left :

Take the next right turn.

the right bank of the river

4 . PROBLEMS something that is not right is not in the state it should be in:

The engine’s not quite right.

This cheese doesn’t smell right.

Things haven’t been right between me and James for some time.

put/set something right (=correct something)

It didn’t take long to find the fault and put it right.

5 . MORALLY if someone is right to do something, their action is morally correct or sensible OPP wrong

right to do something

Do you think I was right to report them to the police?

It can’t be right to keep lying to your family.

it is right that

I think it’s right that the people who work hardest should earn the most.

It’s only right (=completely right) that he should get his share of the money.

The company wants to do the right thing and offer compensation to all the injured workers.

6 . that’s right spoken

a) used to agree with what someone says or to answer ‘yes’ to a question:

‘I gather you work in the sales department?’ ‘That’s right.’

‘Some people find it very difficult to work quickly.’ ‘That’s right, and they often find exams very stressful.’

b) used when you are telling someone that you are angry about what they are doing:

That’s right! Just blame me for everything, as usual!

7 . right you are British English spoken used to say ‘yes’ to a request, order, or suggestion

8 . EMPHASIS [only before noun] British English spoken used to emphasize how bad someone or something is SYN total , complete :

He sounds like a right idiot!

The house was in a right mess when we got back.

9 . HEALTH spoken if you are not feeling right, you are not feeling completely well:

I haven’t been feeling right all day.

A few days in bed will soon put you right.

You’ll soon be as right as rain (=completely healthy) .

⇨ put somebody right/straight at ↑ put (9)

10 . SOCIALLY the right people, places, schools etc are considered to be the best or most important:

Sonia’s always careful to be seen with the right people.

11 . be in the right place at the right time to be in the place where something useful becomes available or is being offered:

Being a news photographer is all about being in the right place at the right time.

—rightness noun [uncountable] :

He was convinced of the rightness of his cause.

⇨ put something right at ↑ put (8)

• • •


■ adverbs

▪ quite right (=completely right)

You were quite right – we should never have gone with them.

▪ absolutely right

You’re absolutely right.

▪ exactly right

My figures may not be exactly right.

▪ dead right informal (=completely correct, used for emphasis)

You were dead right not to trust him.

▪ half/partly right (=correct to some degree, but not completely)

That theory may still be partly right.

■ verbs

▪ get something right

For once, he got my name right.

▪ be proved right

We warned that it would not work, and we have been proved right.

▪ be right in saying/thinking etc

I think I’m right in saying they once employed 2000 people.

• • •


▪ right not wrong – used about something someone says, or about the person who says it:

the right answer


You were right about the colour.


‘He’s about thirty, isn’t he?’ ‘That’s right.’

▪ correct right. Correct sounds more formal than right :

the correct answer


He is absolutely correct.


Unfortunately, this information is not correct.

▪ accurate right – used about information, measurements, descriptions etc:

Make sure that your measurements are accurate.


an accurate description of the suspect

▪ exact an exact number, amount, or time is completely correct, and is no more and no less than it should be:

The exact time is 9.28 a.m.


The exact weight of the baby was 3.3 kilos.

▪ spot-on British English spoken informal exactly right – used especially about guesses or things people say:

His answer was spot-on.


You’re spot-on.

II. right 2 S2 BrE AmE interjection

1 . used to show that you have understood or agree with what someone has just said:

‘You need to be there by ten o’clock.‘ ’Right.'

2 . British English used to get someone’s attention before starting to say or do something:

Right, open your books on page 16.

Right, is everyone listening?

Right, I think we’re ready to go.

3 . used to check if what you have said is correct:

So we’re meeting in the pub, right?

4 . used to check that the person you are speaking to is listening and understands what you are saying:

So I handed him the camera, right, and asked him to take our photograph.

III. right 3 S1 W1 BrE AmE adverb

[ Word Family: adverb : ↑ right , ↑ rightly , ↑ rightfully , righeously, righteousness; noun : ↑ right , ↑ rightness , rights, ↑ righteousness ; adjective : ↑ right , ↑ righteous , ↑ rightful ; verb : ↑ right ]

1 . EXACTLY exactly in a particular position or place

right in/in front of/by etc something

She was standing right in the middle of the room.

There’s the house, right in front of you.

right here/there

I left my bags right here.

2 . IMMEDIATELY immediately and without any delay SYN straight :

It’s on right after the six o'clock news.

I’ll phone him right away (=immediately) .

I could tell right off that something was wrong.

right off the bat American English (=immediately, without having to think carefully)

Kay answered right off the bat.

3 . CORRECTLY correctly:

We guessed right; they’d gone.

‘I thought you’d be cross.’ ‘You thought right!’

4 . WELL informal in a way that is good or satisfactory:

Everything’s going right for him at the moment.

It’ll work out right in the end.

5 . DIRECTION/SIDE towards the direction or side that is on the right OPP left :

Turn right at the crossroads.

6 . right now now, or immediately:

Do you need me right now?

We need to deal with this problem right now.

7 . right along/through/around etc all the way along, through etc:

Go right to the end of the road.

We don’t have to go right into town.

I slept soundly right through the night.

8 . be right behind somebody spoken to completely support someone in their ideas or in what they are trying to achieve:

We’re all right behind you.

9 . I’ll be right with you/right there/right back spoken used to ask someone to wait because you are coming or returning very soon:

‘Lunch is ready!’ ‘I’ll be right there.’

Don’t go away; I’ll be right back.

10 . be right up there (with somebody/something) informal to be as good or as important as the very best:

He’s definitely right up there with all the world-class footballers.

11 . right, left, and centre British English , right and left American English everywhere or in every way:

The company’s losing money right, left and centre.

• • •


▪ exactly used when emphasizing that something is no more and no less than a number or amount, or is completely correct in every detail:

The bill came to exactly $1,000.


Police are still trying to find out exactly how the accident happened.

▪ precisely exactly – used when it is important to be sure that something is completely correct in every detail:

We need to know precisely how much this is going to cost.


Can you tell us precisely where he is?


What precisely do you mean by ‘relativity’?

▪ just especially spoken exactly – used especially when saying that things are exactly right, exactly the same, or exactly in a particular position:

The frame is just the right size for the picture.


He and his brother are just the same.


The hotel is just next to the station.


A new handbag! That’s just what I wanted.

▪ right exactly in a particular position or direction:

The ball hit me right in the eye!


There’s the house, right in front of you.


I got a mosquito bite right on the end of my nose.


He sat down right beside her.

▪ directly exactly in a particular position or direction Directly is more formal than right :

Amy was sitting directly opposite me.

▪ on the dot informal at exactly a particular time, and no earlier or later than that time:

She always leaves the office at 5.30 p.m. on the dot.

▪ bang British English informal exactly – used especially in the following very informal expressions:

The train was bang on time.


The shot was bang on target.


Cockatoo Island is right bang in the middle of Sydney harbour.

IV. right 4 S1 W1 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: adverb : ↑ right , ↑ rightly , ↑ rightfully , righeously, righteousness; noun : ↑ right , ↑ rightness , rights, ↑ righteousness ; adjective : ↑ right , ↑ righteous , ↑ rightful ; verb : ↑ right ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: riht , from riht (adjective); ⇨ ↑ right 1 ]

1 . ALLOWED [countable] something that you are morally, legally, or officially allowed to do or have

right of

The new charter establishes the rights and duties of citizens.

right to

Everyone should have the right to freedom of expression.

right to do something

You have the right to consult a lawyer.

by right

The money is yours by right.

within your rights (=legally or morally allowed)

You would be within your rights to sue the company for negligence.

⇨ ↑ civil rights , HUMAN RIGHTS

2 . have a right to be angry/concerned/suspicious etc to have a good reason for being angry, concerned etc:

I think you have a right to feel very disappointed.

You had every right to be angry with them.

3 . have no right to do something used to say that someone’s action is completely unreasonable or unfair:

You had no right to take money from my purse!

He has no right to speak to me like that!

4 . SIDE the right/sb’s right the side of your body that has the hand that most people write with, or this side of anything else OPP left

on/to the right (of something)

Our car is just to the right of that white van.

Take the first turning on the right.

on/to sb’s right

The school is on your right as you come into the village.

5 . POLITICS the right/the Right political parties or groups that support the ideas and beliefs of ↑ capitalism . They usually want low taxes and to encourage private business rather than businesses owned by the state OPP left ⇨ right-wing :

The campaign is being supported by the Right.

The Conservative Party seems to be moving even further to the right.

extreme/far right

politicians on the extreme right

6 . CORRECT BEHAVIOUR [uncountable] behaviour that is morally good and correct:

Some kids don’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong.

The protesters believe that they have right on their side.

7 . BOOKS/TV ETC rights [plural] if someone has the rights to a book, film, television programme etc, they are allowed to sell it or show it ⇨ copyright

rights to

The studio bought the rights to his new book.

The company paid £2 million for film rights to the book.

the television rights to the Olympic Games

8 . be in the right to have the best reasons, arguments etc in a disagreement with someone else:

Both sides are convinced that they are in the right.

9 . by rights spoken used to describe what should happen if things are done fairly or correctly:

By rights, the house should be mine now.

10 . in your own right used to say that you have something or achieve something on your own, without depending on other people:

She’s a very wealthy woman in her own right.

11 . put something to rights to make a place or situation return to normal again:

It took ages to put the room to rights again.

12 . the rights and wrongs of something the subject of what or who is right or wrong in a situation:

I don’t want to spend ages discussing the rights and wrongs of all this.

13 . [countable] a hit made with your right hand OPP left

• • •


■ verbs

▪ have a right

People have a right to know the truth.

▪ violate sb’s rights formal (=stop them doing something they have a right to do)

Imprisoning the men without trial violated their rights.

▪ exercise a right formal (=do what you have a right to do)

The insurance company decided not to exercise its right of appeal.

▪ deny somebody a right (=not allow someone to do something they have the right to do )

Women were denied the right to vote.

▪ demand a right (=ask for it firmly)

We demand the same rights that other European workers enjoy.

▪ defend a right (=take action to stop a right being taken away)

We should defend our right to demonstrate.

▪ uphold sb’s rights (=defend their rights)

I will uphold the rights of the people of this country.


▪ human rights (=the rights that everyone should have)

This company always operates with respect for human rights.

▪ civil rights (=the rights that every person in a society should have)

As a young man, he was deeply involved in the struggle for civil rights.


the civil rights movement

▪ equal rights

Women demanded equal rights.

▪ a fundamental/basic right

The law recognises a man’s fundamental right to defend his home and his property.

▪ a legal right

Banks have the legal right to recover their money.

▪ a constitutional right

Teachers have a constitutional right to join a union.

▪ political rights

Slaves had no political rights.

▪ women’s rights

New laws have been passed to protect women’s rights.

▪ workers’ rights

The company’s actions are a violation of workers’ rights.

▪ gay/lesbian rights

a gay rights campaigner

▪ animal rights

Animal rights campaigners say the dogs are being bred in terrible conditions.

■ phrases

▪ a right of appeal (=the right to ask for an official decision to be changed)

In these circumstances, there is no right of appeal.

▪ the right to privacy (=the right to be free from public attention)

The judge decided that the media’s actions violated the couple’s right to privacy.

▪ a right of access (=the right to enter a place, use something, or see someone)

You have rights of access to data held about you.

▪ a right of reply ( also the right to reply ) (=the right to say or write something in answer to a criticism)

People should have the right of reply when a magazine has published letters criticizing them.

▪ the right to freedom of expression

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.

V. right 5 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: adverb : ↑ right , ↑ rightly , ↑ rightfully , righeously, righteousness; noun : ↑ right , ↑ rightness , rights, ↑ righteousness ; adjective : ↑ right , ↑ righteous , ↑ rightful ; verb : ↑ right ]

1 . right a wrong to do something to prevent a bad situation from continuing:

He seems to think he can right all the wrongs of the world.

2 . to put something back into the state or situation that it should be in:

We must try to right the balance between taxation and government spending.

3 . to put something, especially a boat, back into its correct upright position:

I finally managed to right the canoe.

She righted herself and picked up her bag.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.