dead to rights

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

US, 1854, originally New York City criminal slang,[1] thence entered general use. dead (completely, utterly) + to rights (properly).

Adverb[edit]

dead to rights (not comparable)

  1. (US, idiomatic) With sufficient evidence to establish responsibility definitively.
    Because of the video replay, the ref had him dead to rights on the penalty.

Synonyms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vocabulum: Or, The Rogue's Lexicon. Comp. from the Most Authentic Sources, George Washington Matsell (1859), p. 25: “DEAD TO RIGHTS. Positively guilty, and no way of getting clear.”