Green’s Dictionary of Slang

right adv.

1. (also rightly, right smart) totally, completely.

[UK]Langland Piers Plowman (1550) I Biii line 185: That Faythe is right nothing worth And as deade as a dore-nayl. [Ibid.] 187: ‘What, ravestow?’ quod Rightwisenesse; ‘or thow art right dronke.’.
[UK] ‘Trial of Josph and Mary’ Coventry Mysteries (1841) 139: The olde charle had ryght gret corage.
[UK]Lydgate ‘Complaint of the Black Knight’ Minor Poems II (1934) line 675: Go, litel quayre, go vn-to my lyves quene [...] And be ryght glad for she shal the sene.
[UK]Skelton Dyvers Balettys and Dyties Solacyous ii line 27: Thys grevyth your husband, that right jentyll knyght.
[UK]Skelton Magnyfycence line 1375: It grieveth me ryght sore To see you thus ruled.
[UK]D. Lyndsay Satyre of Thrie Estaits (1604) 26: Thow can richt weil crak and clatter.
[UK]U. Fulwell Art of Flattery 8th dialogue 38: Sir I perceive right well that you haue bene accustomed with the flattering entertainment of Tapsters.
[UK]Jeronimo (1605) Aiii: spai: How stand ye Lords to this election. omnes: Right pleasing our dread Soueraigne.
[UK]Shakespeare Tempest III iii: I am right glad that he’s so out of hope.
[UK]Greene & Lodge Lady Alimony II v: She’s right tinder: no sooner touch then take.
[UK] ‘Fryar & Boye’ in Furnivall & Hales Bishop Percy’s Folio Manuscript of Loose and Humorous Songs (1868) 12: To such poore victualls as I haue, / right welcome shall you be.
[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans I 131: To business he shall go, and that right soon.
[UK]A. Ross Helenore in Wattie Scot. Works (1938) 84: Right cheerfully the road they did tak in.
‘The Jolly Beggar-Man’ Songs (pub. Newry) 4: And if I get money, right cheerfully I do spend.
[UK]J. Bell Jr. (ed.) Rhymes of Northern Bards 6: Each pay-day nearly, / He takes his quairt right dearly.
[US]J.K. Paulding Bucktails (1847) V ii: He’s right good-natur’d.
‘Humours of Glasgow Fair’ [broadsheet ballad] Now Gibbie was wanting a toothfu: / Says he ‘I’m right tir’d of the fun; / I say, lads d’ye think we’d be the waur o’ a mouthfu / Of guid nappie Yill and Bun’.
[US]J.K. Paulding Westward Ho! I 179: I’ll be shot if there wasn’t a little varmint of a town built right smack on the spot that used to be one of the best deer stations in the whole country.
[US]Littell ‘Yankee Doodle!’ Clay Minstrel (1844) 169: Old Yankee Doodle’s noble tune [...] be it sung again ‘right’ soon.
[UK]Thackeray Newcomes I 239: I am right glad to see thee, boy!
[US]M.L. Byrn Adventures of Fudge Fumble 173: I thought she still might agree to make a husband of me, if she tried right hard, but she didn’t.
[UK] ‘Dicky Short’s History’ Laughing Songster 57: Nelly right flat like his wife did refuse to be.
[US]J. Harrison ‘Negro English’ in Anglia VII 262: Right smart = a good deal.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Pudd’nhead Wilson 125: I’m right down sorry I did it now.
[US]H.L. Wilson Somewhere in Red Gap 17: He was beginning to look right puzzled indeed.
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 243: I feel right sorry for them.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Goldfish’ in Red Wind (1946) 180: Hell, we don’t know him right well.
[UK]‘Henry Green’ Caught (2001) 150: Right glad I am they brought it off at last.
[US]L. Hughes Tambourines to Glory II ii: It takes a right smart time to get down from Mount Vernon.
[US]A. Anderson ‘The Checker Board’ Lover Man 6: You better get that child some shoes right soon.
[US]J. Conaway Big Easy 28: I take that as a rite kindly offer the dude is making.
[US]S. King It (1987) 460: It got so the place was getting crowded right smart every weekend.
[Ire]T. Delaney Where We Sported and Played 82: Sugar, now I’m rightly stuck.
[UK] (ref. to 1950s) A. Bennett Untold Stories (2006) 25: If Dad had his hair cut too short he was thought to look ‘right common’.

2. (also rite) used for emphasizing how good or bad someone or something is, e.g. a right bastard, a right good ’un.

[UK]Colyn Blowbols Testament line 316: Every man have plente and sufficiance, Of mete and drynk right large abundaunce.
[UK]Skelton Magnyfycence line 822: Ye, and do ryght good servyce he can.
[UK]J. Rastell The Four Elements line 637: Then we wyll have lytell Nell, [...] And two or thre proper wenchis mo, Ryght feyr and smotter of face.
[UK]J. Heywood Play of Weather in Farmer Dramatic Writings (1905) 108: And very beggars save only our toll, / Which is right small and yet many grudges / For grist of a bushel to give a quart bowl.
[UK]Udall Ralph Roister Doister III iii: He was your right good master, while he was in heal.
[UK]R. Edwards Damon and Pithias (1571) Fii: A mery Harecoppe tis and a pleasant companion, A right courtier.
[UK]Three Ladies of London II: No lesse then a Farmer, a right honest man.
[UK]Dekker Wonderfull Yeare 70: Thou shewst thy selfe to be a right cobler, and no sowter, that canst thus cleanly clowt vp the seam-rent sides of thy affection.
[UK]Fletcher Women Pleased I i: ’Tis true she is a right good Princes, and a just one.
[UK]R. Brome Northern Lasse IV ii: I have in all found you a right worthie Gentleman.
[UK]Gossips Braule 5: Hee’s a right Gentleman borne Ile warrant him.
[UK]Humours of a Coffee-House 30 July 27: Chear up thy Soul with Noble Claret, / Or right good Nantz.
[UK]A. Ramsay Tea-table Misc. (1733) I 97: The malt-man is right cunning.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 260: A fine tall wench as ever stood / On tip-toe, and was right good blood.
[UK]G. Parker Humorous Sketches 46: A chearing bottle and some right good fare.
[UK]C. Dibdin ‘Recital of the Tombs’ Buck’s Delight 91: Here lies William of Valence, a right good Earl of Pembroke.
[UK]J. Davis Travels in USA 384: If her children had not been right black and right ugly like myself, I should have suspected her vartue long before.
[UK] ‘The Tight Little Navy’ Tegg’s Prime Song Book 6: Oh! its a snug little navy, / A right little, tight little navy.
[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 32: A right good fellow as ever took the froth of a pot.
[US]D. Crockett Sketches and Eccentricities 144: He was a right smart koon.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 18: I heard a right good thing from him about that the other day.
[UK]F.E. Smedley Lewis Arundel 27: Richard Frere’s a right good fellow.
[US] letter in Silber & Sievens Yankee Correspondence (1996) 95: Tom was a ‘right smart boy’.
[US]E. Eggleston Hoosier School-Master (1892) 37: But I ’low it takes a right smart man to be school-master in Flat Crick in the winter.
[UK]G.R. Sims Three Brass Balls 40: The fresh air was Jack’s champagne, and a right good brand it is.
[US] in Overland Monthly (CA) July 52: His having made a ‘right smart spec’ by retailing crab-apple blossoms.
[UK]E. Pugh Street in Suburbia 43: A right-darn good ’un.
[UK]B. Pain De Omnibus 134: Ah, she were a wrong un – a reg’lar right-darn wrong un!
[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 180: You’re getting up a right smart interest in my family, all of a sudden.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper XL 1 29: That’s a right smart lot o’ money, back in the States, but it don’t count very high in Alsaska.
[US]H.L. Wilson Merton of the Movies 45: We got to put a right smart distance between us and that pesky sheriff’s posse.
[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 57: Right mingy lot of bastards.
[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 43: Yes, the wife is a Cork girl, a right flighty article.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 2: Rahnd Fowlers End you got to talk like one o’ the right yobbos.
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene i: ’E’s a right ol’ twit, ain’ ’e!
[US]J. Conaway Big Easy 28: I take that as a rite kindly offer the dude is making.
[UK]Sun. Times mag. 12 Oct. 30: They think you’re a right pudden if you do something for nowt.
[UK]A. Payne ‘Get Daley!’ Minder [TV script] 65: He’s a right prat, Wendy, for crying out loud. He’s thick, he’s lazy, he costs us money and he makes me want to puke.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 146: I never could right sit there watch him go off to Mecca.
[UK]H. Mantel Beyond Black 204: Oh, he were a right laugh!

3. (US Und.) of a criminal, under protection from corrupt authorities.

[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 29: Another hook [...] finally got control of several spots to grift right (under complete protection).

4. (US) properly; thus get (one) right, to capture ‘dead to rights’.

[US]Day Book (Chicago) 23 July 2/1: Major Funkhouser, who is in right with the papers [...] has not peeped about his own stool pigeon’s knowledge.
[US]R. Lardner Gullible’s Travels 90: Our trip, she says, was an investment; it was goin’ to get us in right with people worth w’ile.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 197: The coppers had me ‘right’. The job in — was ‘a square rap’ (The police had the goods on me).
[US]R. Whitfield ‘About Kid Deth’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2007) 269: I’ve been on your tail a long time. And I’ve got you right.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 79/2: Get one right. 1. To arrest in the act of committing a crime or with incontrovertible proof of guilt. 2. (P) To seize one in a rule violation or with proof of guilt. 3. To trap one in an easily proved violation of underworld code or convention.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 86: Well, well, Limpty Lefty McCree, we got you right at last.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 61/1: I’ll see you right typically matey promise to look after someone in trouble or need.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].

In phrases

do it up right (v.) [ext. of do it up under do it v.1 ]

to carry out fully and correctly, to achieve a set objective.

Insurance Press 42-3 13: Let’s get together on this thing now and do it up right once and for all time to come. What do you say?
Trans-Communicator 37 96: You are going to stay in the Order, so why not do it up right? Help out our G. S. & T. to make this the banner division and yourself solid for a whole year .
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 6: I may as well turn this .38 on me and do it up right.
[US]T. Southern ‘Razor Fight’ in Southern (1973) 33: ‘Reckon we might as well . . . do it up right,’ said Big Nail.
[US]B. Jackson Killing Time 222: Kick those punks’ ass, and make it good. / Do this up right, ‘Boy,’ we’ll make you class one.
[US]R. Price Breaks 11: We [...] decided that if we were going to do it up, we would do it up right.
do up right (v.)

to look after.

[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 67: Two panty-and-bra nifties, who had been given a hundred each with instructions to ‘do him up right’ on the way from the airstrip to the tower.