dead to rights


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dead to rights

Definitely guilty of a crime or other misdeed; caught in the act. Thanks to footage from the security cameras, the police were able to catch the burglars dead to rights.
See also: dead, right
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

(bang) dead to rights

in the act; (guilty) without question. We caught her dead to rights with the loot still on her. There he was, bang dead to rights with the smoking gun still in his hands.
See also: dead, right
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

dead to rights

In the act of committing an error or crime, red-handed. For example, They caught the burglars dead to rights with the Oriental rugs. This phrase uses to rights in the sense of "at once." [Slang; mid-1800s]
See also: dead, right
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

dead to rights

verb
See also: dead, right
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

dead to rights

In the very act of making an error or committing a crime: The police caught the thief dead to rights with my silverware.
See also: dead, right
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

dead to rights

Absolutely without doubt; also, red-handed, in the act of doing something. The term originated in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century and was used mostly with reference to criminal activity. George Washington Marsell defined it in his Vocabulum or The Rogue’s Lexicon (1859): “Dead to rights [means] positively guilty and no way of getting clear.” It is heard less often today.
See also: dead, right
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Where the original Dead to Rights fell down in terms of originality, it made up in style.
"The industry thought they had this thing dead to rights," Lamb said, referring to the defendants' arguments that the RICO claims should be dismissed outright, "but Judge Moreno sustained six of the plaintiffs' claims.
It appeared to me that they had both of these guys dead to rights. Why this keeps happening in Illinois, I just don't know, but it is horrendously troubling to someone who generally supports capital punishment."
Boehrer supposes that he has God dead to rights on the question of being "All in All" at the end of time.
Ryan fielded the ball and had runner Neil Walker dead to rights between third and home.
"We had to stop the momentum and we had him dead to rights and he got out," Michigan State coach Mike Dantonio said afterward.
In the bottom of the inning, with one out, Steve "Psycho" Lyons singled, then got caught sleeping at first and was dead to rights when pitcher Greg Harris threw over to pick him off.