Definition of judgment
- careful judgment of the odds
- is not worth doing in my judgment
- a situation requiring careful judgment
- sinners awaiting Judgment
- believed their bad luck to be a judgment upon them
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
We have to make a judgment about the value of their services.
The judgment of the editors is final.
Don't rush to judgment without examining the evidence.
“Were his policies good or bad?” “I'll have to reserve judgment on that. It's too soon to know.”
Use your own best judgment.
The court granted a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.
the judgment of the court
I won a judgment against the bank.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'judgment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Judgment can also be spelled "judgement," and usage experts have long disagreed over which spelling is the preferred one. Henry Fowler asserted, "The OED [Oxford English Dictionary] prefers the older and more reasonable spelling. 'Judgement' is therefore here recommended." William Safire held an opposite opinion, writing, "My judgment is that Fowler is not to be followed." "Judgement" is in fact the older spelling, but it dropped from favor and for centuries "judgment" was the only spelling to appear in dictionaries. That changed when the OED (Fowler's source) was published showing "judgement" as an equal variant. Today, "judgment" is more popular in the U.S., whereas both spellings make a good showing in Britain.
A judgment is a court order to pay someone else a sum of money or other remedy.
Let's say John Doe owns a pit bull he hasn't trained very well. One day, John's dog jumps the fence and mauls Jane Smith's dog, Fifi. Jane rushes Fifi to the vet and incurs $2,000 in vet bills.
Jane sues John Doe for $3,000 to compensate for the vet bills and pain and suffering. The judge agrees and orders John to pay the $3,000. This order is a judgment against John, and it is usually a matter of public record. If John does not pay the judgment, Jane can ask the court for remedy, which might include the court placing a lien on his assets, garnishing his wages or other actions.
There are different kinds of judgments. A default judgment, for example, occurs in favor of the plaintiff when the defendant fails to appear in court to defend himself or does not respond to a summons. A deficiency judgment occurs when the sale of a seized piece of property does not generate enough cash to pay the judgment and the court has to place a lien on more property.
Judgments are reported to credit agencies and generally stay on a person's credit report as a negative item for seven years. Judgments aren't always monetary, though. A judge could order John to build a higher fence on his property, for example, or take the dog away.
: an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought
: the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought : the act of judging something or someone
: the ability to make good decisions about what should be done
What made you want to look up judgment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ