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2 definitions found
 for By rights
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Right \Right\, n. [AS. right. See Right, a.]
     1. That which is right or correct. Specifically:
        (a) The straight course; adherence to duty; obedience to
            lawful authority, divine or human; freedom from guilt,
            -- the opposite of moral wrong.
        (b) A true statement; freedom from error of falsehood;
            adherence to truth or fact.
            [1913 Webster]
  
                  Seldom your opinions err;
                  Your eyes are always in the right. --Prior.
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        (c) A just judgment or action; that which is true or
            proper; justice; uprightness; integrity.
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                  Long love to her has borne the faithful knight,
                  And well deserved, had fortune done him right.
                                                    --Dryden.
            [1913 Webster]
  
     2. That to which one has a just claim. Specifically:
        (a) That which one has a natural claim to exact.
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                  There are no rights whatever, without
                  corresponding duties.             --Coleridge.
            [1913 Webster]
        (b) That which one has a legal or social claim to do or to
            exact; legal power; authority; as, a sheriff has a
            right to arrest a criminal.
        (c) That which justly belongs to one; that which one has a
            claim to possess or own; the interest or share which
            anyone has in a piece of property; title; claim;
            interest; ownership.
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                  Born free, he sought his right.   --Dryden.
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                  Hast thou not right to all created things?
                                                    --Milton.
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                  Men have no right to what is not reasonable.
                                                    --Burke.
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        (d) Privilege or immunity granted by authority.
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     3. The right side; the side opposite to the left.
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              Led her to the Souldan's right.       --Spenser.
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     4. In some legislative bodies of Europe (as in France), those
        members collectively who are conservatives or monarchists.
        See Center, 5.
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     5. The outward or most finished surface, as of a piece of
        cloth, a carpet, etc.
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     At all right, at all points; in all respects. [Obs.]
        --Chaucer.
  
     Bill of rights, a list of rights; a paper containing a
        declaration of rights, or the declaration itself. See
        under Bill.
  
     By right, By rights, or By good rights, rightly;
        properly; correctly.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              He should himself use it by right.    --Chaucer.
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              I should have been a woman by right.  --Shak.
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     Divine right, or
  
     Divine right of kings, a name given to the patriarchal
        theory of government, especially to the doctrine that no
        misconduct and no dispossession can forfeit the right of a
        monarch or his heirs to the throne, and to the obedience
        of the people.
  
     To rights.
        (a) In a direct line; straight. [R.] --Woodward.
        (b) At once; directly. [Obs. or Colloq.] --Swift.
  
     To set to rights, To put to rights, to put in good order;
        to adjust; to regulate, as what is out of order.
  
     Writ of right (Law), a writ which lay to recover lands in
        fee simple, unjustly withheld from the true owner.
        --Blackstone.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  by rights
      adv 1: with reason or justice [syn: by rights, properly]

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