This, one of the noblest words in the English language, is also one of the oldest, being found in the very ancient Sanskrit in the form raj meaning rule. It appeared in Latin as rectus, meaning direct, straight, a rule,— rule being used in the sense of our ruler, a device for drawing a line which is the shortest distance between two points. Such words as regent, rail, direct, rector, rectify, rule, came from this Latin term. Right means “straight,” as in a “right line,” a “right angle,” etc.; through a familiar metaphorical application it has come to stand for conduct in conform-ity with moral law. Our “rights” are those privileges which strict law allows to us. A “horizontal” is a right line on the level; a perpendicular” is a right line up and down, or at right angles to the horizontal. “Right” and “regular,” discussed just above, originally were close together in meaning.
- Source: 100 Words in Masonry