The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.
[Old English riht, from riht righteous]
1 a : qualities (as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval
b : something that is morally just [able to distinguish from wrong]
2 : something to which one has a just claim: as
a : a power, privilege, or condition of existence to which one has a natural claim of enjoyment or possession [the of liberty] [that all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable s "Declaration of Independence"] see also natural right
b : a power, privilege, immunity, or capacity the enjoyment of which is secured to a person by law [one's constitutional s]
c : a legally enforceable claim against another that the other will do or will not do a given act [the defendant may be under a legal duty…to exercise reasonable care for the plaintiff's safety, so that the plaintiff has a corresponding legal to insist on that care "W. L. Prosser and W. P. Keeton"]
d : the interest that one has in property
: a claim or title to property often used in pl. [a security interest is not enforceable…and does not attach unless…the debtor has s in the collateral "Uniform Commercial Code"] [leasing mineral s] see also real right
: the interest in property possessed (as under copyright law) in an intangible thing and esp. an item of intellectual property [obtained publishing s]
3 : a privilege given stockholders to subscribe pro rata to a new issue of securities generally below market price
1 : as an absolute right
2 : demandable or enforceable under the law [appeal of right to the circuit courts of appeal "L. H. Campbell"]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.