I, as an American English speaker, have the intuition that "right" could mean "very" in some British or Australian dialects. However, I could not find much information outside of a couple of dictionary entries that simply list it as dialectical or archaic usage.

For example, the entry from the free online Oxford Dictionary does indeed identify this usage of "right" as archaic and dialectical usage, though the entry in Merriam Webster's online dictionary provides this usage with no qualifiers. Meanwhile, the entry in dictionary.com provides no indication of that usage whatsoever.

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    This is a right honourable question. It should wear one of those powered wigs and have a mini gavel.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 10, 2017 at 12:07
  • Right (adv.) [mid-19C+] (also rite) used for emphasizing how good or bad someone or something is, e.g. a right bastard, a right good ’un.
    – user 66974
    Dec 10, 2017 at 12:13
  • @user159691 That usage isn't really equivalent to "very", it's more like "proper", "real" or "true". In fact "a proper bastard" and "a real good 'un" are both common expressions.
    – BoldBen
    Dec 10, 2017 at 13:13
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    Right now. Right then. Right by Joe's. Right after her. Right there. Right here. Right out the door. Right next door. Right up your alley. There’s also the use of right in the sense of the longer word downright, which is more directly equivalent to really or very: “That's a downright silly idea” > “That’s a right silly idea”.
    – tchrist
    Dec 10, 2017 at 14:33
  • I suggest the real question would be, in which dialects has it not…? That's by no means to say right and very are always or even usually interchangeable but still rightly, that's a very different point works just like verily, that's a right different point. Dec 11, 2017 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


It appears to be non-standard yet with quite a spread in both the US and Britain. Regarding "Right Honorable", I see the temptation to equate it with "very", but "Right Reverend" would point away from that as a definitive equivalance. It certainly turns up the volume. It is worth noting that recht in German is far more standard in this usage as an emphasizer. Perhaps rather than "very" you could consider "quite" a better translation.

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