Legal Definition and Related Resources of Right

Meaning of Right

In its legal sense, the term denotes the liberty or privilege conferred or protected by law of doing or abstaining from doing an act or the power or privilege enforced by law of compelling a specific person to do or abstain from doing a particular thing. It is that liberty the infringement of which entitles the possessor to a legal remedy or that power to compel compliance with the assistance of the state . rights may be classified as primary and secondary . Primary rights are those that are created without reference to rights already existing. In this class will be the right of every person of the community to life, health and liberty of action ; also the rights of ownership, of contract , marriage, etc. Secondary rights are created or arise only for the purpose of protecting or enforcing primary rights. Thus the right of a creditor through the courts to obtain judgment and levy execution against the debtor is a secondary right. So is the right to prevent an invasion of a primary right by means of an injunction obtained from the court . Rights may also be classified as being either in rem or in personam. A right in rem is such a right that is good against the whole world, such as a right that the owner of property enjoys to exclude all others from the same. A right in personam is one that can be enforced only against a particular person on whom there is a corresponding duty or liability . The right of a creditor to payment is thus enforceable only against the debtor and is a right in personam. Rights are also either legal or equitable. A legal right is such a right as was recognized at common law and was enforceable through common law courts. An equitable right was one recognized by courts of chancery and enforceable only in the Chancery Courts.

Right Alternative Definition

In the most abstract sense, justice, equity. The word also denoted, among other things, property, interest, power, prerogative, immunity, and privilege, and in law is most frequently applied to property in its restricted sense. As an enforceable legal right, it means that which one has a legal right to do. 57 Ore. 201; Ann. Gas. 1913A 66. That which a person, having it, is entitled to keep and enjoy, and to be protected by law in its enjoyment; as the right of personal liberty, and other rights of persons. See 1 Bl. Comm. 129. That which one person ought to have or receive from another, it being withheld from him, or not in his possession. In this sense, right has the force of claim, and is properly expressed by the Latin jus. Lord Coke considers this to be the proper signification of the word, especially in writs and pleadings, where an estate is turned to a right, as by discontinuance, disseisin, etc. Co. Litt. 345a. That interest which a person actually has in any subject of property, entitling him to hold or convey it at pleasure. 57 Ore. 201; Ann. Cas. 1913A 66. An estate in esse in conveyances. Co Litt. 346a. In this sense right (jus) has the force of ownership or property. Lord Coke comparing the terms of right and title observes that ‘title’ is the more general word, for every right is a title, but every title is not such a right for which an action lies. Co. Litt. 345b. Sir Matthew Hale distinguishes between the right of an estate and the title of an estate. Hale, Anal. § 32. Classification:
(1) Rights are perfect and imperfect. When the things which we have a right to possess, or the actions we have a right to do, are or may be fixed and determinate, the right is a perfect one; but when the thing or the actions are vague and indeterminate, the right is an imperfect one. If a man demand his property which is withheld from him, the right that supports his demand is a perfect one, because the thing demanded is or may be fixed and determinate; but if a poor man ask relief from those from whom he has reason to expect it, the right which supports his posiRIGHT tion is an imperfect one, because the relief which he expects is a vague, indeterminate thing. Rutherforth, Inst. c. 2, § 4; Grotius de Jure Belli, lib. 1, c. 1, § 4.
(2) Rights are also absolute and qualified. A man has an absolute right to recover property which belongs to him. An agent has a qualified right to recover such property when it had been intrusted to his care, and which has been unlawfully taken out of his possession.
(3) Rights might, with propriety, be also divided into natural and civil rights; but as all the rights which man has received from nature have been modified and acquired anew from the civil law, it is more proper, when considering their object, to divide them into political and civil rights. Political rights consist in the power to participate, directly or indirectly, in the establishment or management of government. These political rights are fixed by the constitution. Every citizen has the right of voting for public oflBcers, and of being elected. These are the political rights which the humblest citizen possesses. Civil rights are those which have no relation to the establishment, support, or management of the government. These consist in the power of acquiring and enjoying property, of exercising the paternal and marital powers, and the like. It will be observed that every one, unless deprived of them by a sentence of civil death, is in the enjoyment of his civil rights, which is not the case with political rights, for an alien, for example, has no political, although in the full enjoyment of his civil, rights.
(4) Civil rights are divided into absolute and relative. The absolute rights of mankind may be reduced to three principal or primary articles: The right of personal security, which consists in a person’s legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation; the right of personal liberty, which consists in the power of locomotion, of changing situation, or removing one’s person to whatsoever place one’s inclination may direct, without any restraint unless by due course of law; the right of property, which consists in the free use, enjoyment, and disposal of all his acquisitions, without any control or diminution save only by the laws of the land. 1 Bl. Comm. 124-139.
(B) The relative rights are public or private. The first are those which subsist between the people and the government; as, the right of protection on the part of the people, and the right of allegiance which is due by the people to the government; the second are the reciprocal rights of husband and wife, parent and child, guardian and ward, and master and servant.
(6) Rights are also divided into legal and equitable. The former are those where the party has the legal title to a thing; and in that case his remedy for an inf ringemoit of it Is by an action in a court of law. Although the person holding the legal title may have no actual interest, but hold only as trustee, the suit must be in his name, and not, in general, in that of the cestui que trust. 1 East, 497; 8 Term R. 332; 1 Saund. 158, note 1; 2 Bing. 20. The latter, or equitable rights, are those which may be enforced in a court of equity by the cestui que trust. See, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index.

Financial Definition of Right

A short-lived (typically less than 90 days) call option for purchasing additional stock in a firm, issued by the firm to all its shareholders on a pro rata basis.

Synonyms of Right

(Correct), adjective

  • aboveboard
  • accurate
  • equitable
  • ethical
  • fair
  • honest
  • honorable
  • in accordance with duty
  • in accordance with justice
  • in accordance with morality
  • in accordance with truth
  • legitimate
  • reasonable
  • righteous
  • rightful
  • scrupulous
  • truthful
  • unswerving
  • upright
  • upstanding
  • valid
  • veracious
  • virtuous

(Direct), adjective

  • absolute
  • exact
  • immediate
  • straight
  • straightaway
  • straightforward
  • undeviating
  • unswerving

(Entitlement), noun

  • authority
  • authorization
  • due
  • fair claim
  • heritage
  • inalienable interest
  • tus
  • iusta
  • just claim
  • justification
  • legal claim
  • legal power
  • legal title
  • ownership
  • power
  • prerogative
  • privilege
  • sanction
  • stake
  • title
  • vested interest
  • warrant
  • Associated Concepts: absolute right
  • accrued rights
  • Bill of Rights
  • claim of right
  • color of right
  • Constitutional right
  • contingent right
  • established right
  • exclusive right
  • future right
  • inchoate right
  • incorporeal right
  • inherent right
  • marital rights
  • material rights
  • mineral rights
  • natural rights
  • permissive right
  • preemptive right
  • preferential right
  • prescriptive right
  • prima facie right
  • proprietary right
  • prospective right
  • reciprocal rights
  • right of action
  • right of entry
  • right of privacy
  • right ofredemption
  • right of way
  • right to bear arms
  • right to counsel
  • right to jury trial
  • right to vote
  • righttowork laws
  • riparian rights
  • substantive right
  • vested rightsforeign phrases: Assignatus utitur jure auctoris
  • An assignee is clothed with the right of his principal
  • Nul charter
  • nul vente
  • ne nul done vault perpetualment
  • si le donor n ‘est seise al temps de contracts de deux droits
  • sc
  • del droit de possession et del droit de propertie
  • No grant
  • no sale
  • no gift
  • unless the donor
  • at the time of contract
  • has two rights
  • namely
  • the right of possession
  • and the right of property
  • Nonvideturvim facere
  • qui jure suo utitur et ordinaria actione experitur
  • He is not considered to use force who exercises his own right
  • and proceeds by ordinary action
  • Nemo plus juris ad alienum transferre potest quam ipsehabet
  • No one can transfer to another any greater right than he himself has
  • Cuijus est donandi
  • eidem et vendendiet concedendi jus est
  • He who has the right to give has also the right to sell and to grant
  • la ceo done remedie a vener a ceo
  • Where the law gives a right
  • it gives a remedy to recover
  • Ubijus
  • ibi remedium
  • Where there is a right
  • there is a remedy
  • there is a remedy
  • Non debeo melioris conditionis esse
  • quam auctor meus a quo jus in me transit
  • I ought not to be in better condition than he to whose rights i succeed
  • Nemo potest plus juris ad alium transferre quam ipse habet
  • No one can transfer a greater right to another than he himself has
  • Jus publicum privatorum pactis mutari non potest
  • A public right cannot be changed by agreement of private persons
  • the right of possession
  • and the right of property
  • Nonvideturvim facere
  • qui jure suo utitur et ordinaria actione experitur
  • He is not considered to use force who exercises his own right
  • and proceeds by ordinary action
  • Nemo plus juris ad alienum transferre potest quam ipsehabet
  • No one can transfer to another any greater right than he himself has
  • Cuijus est donandi
  • eidem et vendendiet concedendi jus est
  • He who has the right to give has also the right to sell and to grant
  • L’ou le ley done chose
  • la ceo done remedie a vener a ceo
  • Where the law gives a right
  • it gives a remedy to recover
  • Ubijus
  • ibi remedium
  • Where there is a right
  • there is a remedy
  • Non debeo melioris conditionis esse
  • quam auctor meus a quo jus in me transit
  • I ought not to be in better condition than he to whose rights i succeed
  • Nemo potest plus juris ad alium transferre quam ipse habet
  • No one can transfer a greater right to another than he himself has
  • Jus publicum privatorum pactis mutari non potest
  • A public right cannot be changed by agreement of private persons
  • Nullus jus alienum forisfacerepotest
  • No man can forfeit the right of another
  • Neminem laedit quijure suoutitur
  • We who stands on his own rights injures no one
  • Cujus est instituere
  • ejus est abrogare
  • Whose right it is to institute anything
  • may also abrogate it
  • Qui jure suo utitur
  • neminifacit injuriam
  • One who exercises his legal rights
  • injures no one
  • Ignorantia juris sui non praejudicat jun
  • Ignorance of one’s right does not prejudice the right
  • Jus triplex est
  • propietatis
  • possessions
  • etpossibilitatis
  • Right is threefoldof property
  • of possession
  • and of possibility
  • Nullus videtur dolo facere qui suo jure utitur
  • No one is considered to have committed a wrong who exercises his legal rights
  • Cuilibet licet juri pro se introducto renunciare
  • Any one may wave the benefit of a legal right that exists only for his protection

(Righteousness), noun

  • correctness
  • due
  • duty
  • equitableness
  • equity
  • evenhanded justice
  • excellence
  • fair treatment
  • fairness
  • good actions
  • good behavior
  • goodness
  • honor
  • integrity
  • justice
  • justness
  • merit
  • morality
  • morals
  • nobleness
  • principle
  • probity
  • propriety
  • rectitude
  • rectus
  • straight course
  • truth
  • uprightness
  • verus
  • virtue
  • worthinnessforeign phrases: Fiat justitia
  • ruat coelum
  • Let right be done
  • though the heavens fall
  • Ipsae leges cupiunt ut jure regantur
  • The laws themselves are desirous of being governed by what is right
  • Jus et fraus nunquam cohabitant
  • Right and fraud never dwell together
  • Jus naturale est quod apud homines eandem habet potentiam
  • Natural right is that which has the same force among all mankind
  • Pactaprivatajuripublico derogarenonpossunt
  • Private compacts cannot derogate from public right
  • Jus est norma recti; et quicquid est contra normam recti est injuria
  • Law is the rule of right; and whatever is contrary to the rule of right is an injury
  • Lexest norma recti
  • Law is the rule of right
  • Quid sit jus
  • et in quo consistit injuria
  • legis est definire
  • What constitutes right
  • and what injury
  • it is the business of the law to define
  • Jus ex injuria non oritur
  • A right does not arise from a wrong

(Suitable), adjective

  • accepted
  • admissible
  • allowable
  • appropriate
  • apt
  • conventional
  • customary
  • fit
  • fitting
  • orderly
  • perfect
  • proper
  • reasonable
  • recognized
  • satisfactory
  • seemly
  • suitable
  • valid
  • virtuous
  • welldone
  • wellperformed
  • wellregulated

Related Entries of Right in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Right in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Right in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Right in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Right in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

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Mentioned in these terms

A Gratia, Á Prendre, Abandon, Abandonment, Abdication, Access, Accord And Satisfaction, Accrual, Accrued Right, Accused, Acquiescence, Estoppel by Acquiescence, Action, Actual Cash Value, Aggrieved Party, Air Rights, Amendment, Amount In Controversy, Appeal, Assembly, Assignment Of Contract, Assistance, Writ Of, Authorize, Bank Check, Barrister, Borrowing Power, Breach, , Capacity, Capita, Per, Carrier, Cause Of Action, Cease And Desist Order, Challenge, Charge, Chase, Chattel Mortgage, Chief, Tenant In, Chose, Chose In Action, Citizen, Civil Contempt, Claim, Claimant, Class Action, Clean Hands, Clear View Doctrine, Clearance, Clifford Trust, Collateral Order Doctrine, College, Color Of Right, Commutation, Condemn, Condemnation, Condition, Condition Precedent, Condominium, Consideration, Consortium, Constructive, Constructive Total Loss, Contract, Control, Conversion, Copyright, Correct, Covenant Not To Sue, Custody, Damage Feasant, Damages, De Facto, De Jure, Debenture, Declaration, Dedicate, , Defamation, Defense, Defraud, Demand, Demise, Derogate, Derogation, Desertion, Detriment, Dignity, Dilatory Pleas, Disbar, , Disclaim, Disclaimer, Disfranchise, Disinheritance, Dispute, Disqualify, Distrain, Disturb, Disturbance, Dower, , Easement, Ejectment, Election Contest, Emblements, Eminent Domain, Encroach, Encroachment, Enfranchise, Entire Contract, Entitle, Enure, Equitable Interests, Equitable Lien, Equitable Mortgage, Equity, Equity Of Redemption, Escheat, Estate By Entirety, Estate In Expectancy, Estoppel, Ethics, Executor, Exoneration, Expectancy, Expropriation, Extinguishment, Facility, Fair Comment, First Right Of Refusal, Fishery, Foreclosure, Forfeiture, Franchise, Freedom Of Speech, Futures Contract, Genuine Issue, Gloves, Guardian, Half-mark, Hay-bote, Head Of A Family, Hereditament, Heriot, Hypothéqué, Iammas Lands, Immediate Descent, Immunity, Imprisonment, In Gross, Inalienability, Inchoate, Inchoate Right, Incorporeal Hereditament, Incorporeal Right, Incroachment, Incumbrance, Indemnity, Independent Contractor, Indian Tribe, Indirect Tax, Infringement, Initiative, Injury, Insanity, Instrument, Insurable Interest, Intangible, Intention, Interest, Intermeddle, Interpleader, Interruption, Intervening Right, Involuntary Payment, Irresistible Impulse, Joinder Of Causes Of Actions, Joint Contract, Joint Enterprise, Joint Tenancy, Joint Venture, Judge, Judgment, Judgment Lien, Judgment On Merits, Judicial Act, Judicial Discretion, Judicial Function, Judicial Power, Jurisdiction, , Keelage, Landlord, Lapse, Lateral Support, Liberty, License, , Limitation Of Actions, Literary Property, Livery Of Seisin, Lost Grant, Malfeasance, Matrimonial Home, Merit, Mineral Estate, Minimum Contact, Miranda Warning, Miscarriage Of Justice, Monopoly, Moral, Moral Law, Moral Obligation, Moral Turpitude, , Natural Guardian, Natural Justice, Natural Rights, Naturalization, Nominal Damages, Non-user, Not Guilty, Nuisance, Office, Open Mine, Option, Ordeal, Owner, Pannage, Party, Passport, Pasture, Per Capita, Per Stirpes, Peremptory Challenge, Petty Offense, Plain View Doctrine, Police Power, Pollute, Pollution, Possessory Title, Power, Precedent, Prejudice, Prerogative, Prescription, Presumptive Heir, Pretenced Right Or Title, Primogeniture, Priority, Privacy, Private Nuisance, Privilege, Procedure, Profit A Prendre, Property, Prosecution, Provision, Qualify, Quasi Judicial, Real Certitude, Real Party In Interest, Real Property, Real Right, Recovery, Rectify, Rector, Reduction Into Possession, Referendum, Refusal, Registered Voter, Relator, Religion, Religious Freedom, Relinquish, Remedy, Replevin, Representative Action, Require, Rescission, Reservation, Retainer, Retaining Lien, Revendication, Revision, Right Of Action, Right Of Common, Right Of Entry, Right Of Privacy, Right Of Retainer, Right-of-way, Riparian Rights, Route, Running With The Land, , Secondary Easement, Security, Self-defense, Self-incrimination, Separate Estate, Servant, Set-off, Settle, Shop Right Rule, Slander Of Title, Special Interest, Steal, Stealing, Stoppage In Transitu, Subrogation, Succession, Tenancy At Sufferance, Suffrage, , Surcharge, Survivorship, , Tenancy At Will, Tenancy By The Entirety, Tenancy In Common, Tenant, Tenant At Sufferance, Tenant By The Curtesy, Tenure, Things In Action, Third Party, Ticket, Title, , Trade Mark, Trover, Trust, Trust Receipt.


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English Spanish Translation of Right

To take up the right: Hacer uso del derecho
As of right: Por derecho propio

Find other English to Spanish translations from the Pocket Spanish English Legal Dictionary (print and online), the English to Spanish to English dictionaries (like Right) and the Word reference legal translator.

Right in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of right.

Etimology of Right

(You may find right at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

morally correct, Old English riht “just, good, fair; proper, fitting; straight, not bent, direct, erect,” from Proto-Germanic *rekhtaz (source also of Old Frisian riucht “right,” Old Saxon reht, Middle Dutch and Dutch recht, Old High German reht, German recht, Old Norse rettr, Gothic raihts), from PIE root *reg- “move in a straight line,” also “to rule, to lead straight, to put right” (source also of Greek orektos “stretched out, upright;” Latin rectus “straight, right;” Old Persian rasta- “straight; right,” ar_ta- “rectitude;” Old Irish recht “law;” Welsh rhaith, Breton reiz “just, righteous, wise”). Compare slang straight (adj.1) “honest, morally upright,” and Latin rectus “right,” literally “straight,” Lithuanian teisus “right, true,” literally “straight.” Greek dikaios “just” (in the moral and legal sense) is from dike “custom.” As an emphatic, meaning “you are right,” it is recorded from 1580s; use as a question meaning “am I not right?” is from 1961. The sense in right whale is “justly entitled to the name.” Right stuff “best human ingredients” is from 1848, popularized by Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book about the first astronauts. Right of way is attested from 1767. Right angle is from late 14c.

Etimology of the Term (with other Sense)

(You may find right at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

opposite of left, early 12c., riht, from Old English riht, which did not have this sense but meant “good, proper, fitting, straight” (see right (adj.1)). The notion is of the right hand as the “correct” hand. The usual Old English word for this was swi_ra, literally “stronger.” “The history of words for ‘right’ and ‘left’ shows that they were used primarily with reference to the hands” [Buck]. Similar sense evolution in Dutch recht, German recht “right (not left),” from Old High German reht, which meant only “straight, just.” Compare Latin rectus “straight; right,” also from the same PIE root. The usual PIE root (*dek-) is represented by Latin dexter (see dexterity). Other derivations on a similar pattern to English right are French droit, from Latin directus “straight;” Lithuanian labas, literally “good;” and Slavic words (Bohemian pravy, Polish prawy, Russian pravyj) from Old Church Slavonic pravu, literally “straight,” from PIE *pro-, from root *per- (1) “forward, through” (see per). The political sense of “conservative” is first recorded 1794 (adj.), 1825; this term is also a noun., a translation of French Droit “the Right, Conservative Party” in the French National Assembly (1789; see left (adj.)).


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Right

(You may find right at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

Old English riht (West Saxon, Kentish), reht (Anglian), “that which is morally right, duty, obligation,” also “rule of conduct; law of a land;” also “what someone deserves; a just claim, what is due; correctness, truth; a legal entitlement, a privilege,” from the root of right (adj.1). Meaning “the right” (as opposed to the left) is from mid-13c.; political use from 1825. From early 14c. as “a right action, a good deed.” Meaning “a blow with the right fist” is from 1898. The phrase to rights “at once, straightway” is 1660s, from sense “in a proper manner” (Middle English).


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police
  • Law Enforcement Agency

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