Something that's rightful is deserved or legitimate. If you accidentally grab someone else's coat when you leave school, you'll have to bring it back and return it to its rightful owner.

You'll frequently find rightful describing the word owner: "Police were quickly able to return the puppy to its rightful owner after the hoodlum grabbed it from the back yard." Anything or anyone with a legal right to something is considered rightful, so a newly elected U.S. president takes their rightful place as leader of the country as soon as they're sworn in.

Definitions of rightful
  1. adjective
    legally valid
    “a rightful inheritance”
    used especially of what is legally or ethically right or proper or fitting
  2. adjective
    having a legally established claim
    synonyms: lawful, true
    of marriages and offspring; recognized as lawful
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘rightful'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up rightful for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer