just

1 of 3

adjective

1
a
: having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason : reasonable
had just reason to believe he was in danger
b
: conforming to a standard of correctness : proper
just proportions
c
archaic : faithful to an original
2
a(1)
: acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good : righteous
a just war
(2)
: being what is merited : deserved
a just punishment
b
: legally correct : lawful
just title to an estate
justly adverb
justness noun

just

2 of 3

adverb

ˈjəst How to pronounce just (audio)
ˈjist,
ˈjest,
 also without  t
1
a
: exactly, precisely
just right
b
: very recently
the bell just rang
2
a
: by a very small margin : barely
just too late
b
: immediately, directly
just west of here
3
a
: only, simply
just last year
just be yourself
b
: quite, very
just wonderful
4
: perhaps, possibly
it just might work

just

3 of 3

archaic variant of joust

Phrases
just about
: almost
the work is just about done
Choose the Right Synonym for just

fair, just, equitable, impartial, unbiased, dispassionate, objective mean free from favor toward either or any side.

fair implies a proper balance of conflicting interests.

a fair decision

just implies an exact following of a standard of what is right and proper.

a just settlement of territorial claims

equitable implies a less rigorous standard than just and usually suggests equal treatment of all concerned.

the equitable distribution of the property

impartial stresses an absence of favor or prejudice.

an impartial third party

unbiased implies even more strongly an absence of all prejudice.

your unbiased opinion

dispassionate suggests freedom from the influence of strong feeling and often implies cool or even cold judgment.

a dispassionate summation of the facts

objective stresses a tendency to view events or persons as apart from oneself and one's own interest or feelings.

I can't be objective about my own child

upright, honest, just, conscientious, scrupulous, honorable mean having or showing a strict regard for what is morally right.

upright implies a strict adherence to moral principles.

a stern and upright minister

honest stresses adherence to such virtues as truthfulness, candor, or fairness.

known for being honest in business dealings

just stresses conscious choice and regular practice of what is right or equitable.

workers given just compensation

conscientious and scrupulous imply an active moral sense governing all one's actions and painstaking efforts to follow one's conscience.

conscientious in the completion of her assignments
scrupulous in carrying out the terms of the will

honorable suggests a firm holding to codes of right behavior and the guidance of a high sense of honor and duty.

a difficult but honorable decision

Examples of just in a Sentence

Adjective a just cause for war The college treated the allegation with just seriousness. They got their just punishment for the crime. Adverb The store has just the tool you need. That's just what I expected. You have to accept me just as I am. This shirt fits just right. She called him a liar and told him he was just like all the other men she'd met. He was just here a minute ago. She had just returned when he entered. I was just going to telephone you! She's just finishing a letter, and she'll be with you shortly. I arrived just in time to see him win. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Resolution 242 is silent, however, on the Palestinian issue, except for a passing reference to the need for a just settlement of the refugee issue. Martin Indyk, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Walmart already generates more sales for Vizio than any other retailer, Saunders said, but retailers are moving beyond selling just goods. Aaron Gregg, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2024 Still, in just minutes, Gaetz had deftly constructed an entirely different story. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2024 The trio will be honored at the red carpet event — held on Saturday, April 20, at Rolling Greens in Los Angeles — for their contributions to the cause of ending industrial animal agriculture and constructing a just and sustainable food system. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 13 Feb. 2024 The movement to build a temple for Ram at the same spot was not just about the return of a deity with crosscutting popularity in India as a just ruler and moral exemplar, but also the toppling of a symbol of conquest. Hari Kumar Atul Loke, New York Times, 22 Jan. 2024 The majority of the people, both in Uganda and internationally, agree with us and confirm to us that this is a just fight. Brande Victorian, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Feb. 2024 With just days to go until Super Bowl LVIII, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce took a moment from his team's preparations to praise his girlfriend, pop superstar Taylor Swift, after her historic Grammy Awards night. Christopher Brito, CBS News, 6 Feb. 2024 The prison, built in just months during 2022, can hold up to 40,000 people and has thousands of military personnel guarding it. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 3 Feb. 2024
Adverb
Kelce passed that mark in the first half of what was just his 21st postseason appearance. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Gutierrez Reed was not in the area where Baldwin was rehearsing at the time of the shooting because the gathering was just supposed to be technical preparation, which would not require her presence, her attorneys have previously said. Christina Maxouris, CNN, 22 Feb. 2024 Going on a walk, exercising, or just closing your eyes are all forms of taking a time out. Alisa Cohn, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 With just over a month of shows left, frontman Matty Healy has continued to reassure fans that their hiatus will turn into something more permanent. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 22 Feb. 2024 But Dior’s sumptuous creations don’t amount to much more than pretty wrapping paper for what’s actually a World War II drama in which the main characters just kind of happen to be very famous designers. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 With a beam of just over eight feet, the Sport can comfortably accommodate up to 15 seafarers. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 22 Feb. 2024 The Massachusetts State Police also urged people not to call 911 just to see if the number worked. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 22 Feb. 2024 With their polyester-spandex blend, these water-resistant travel pants are comfortable, functional, and on sale for just $30. Alexandra Domrongchai, Travel + Leisure, 22 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'just.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Adverb

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French juste, from Latin justus, from jus right, law; akin to Sanskrit yos welfare

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of just was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near just

Cite this Entry

“Just.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/just. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

just

1 of 2 adjective
1
a
: well-founded, reasonable
a just comment
b
: being in agreement with a standard of correctness : proper
a just price
2
a
: morally right or good : righteous
a just cause for war
b
: being deserved
just punishment
3
: legally right
a just title
justly adverb

just

2 of 2 adverb
(ˌ)jəst How to pronounce just (audio)
(ˌ)jist,
(ˌ)jest
1
a
: exactly sense 1, precisely
just right
b
: very recently
the bell just rang
2
a
: by a small amount : barely
just over the line
b
: immediately sense 1, directly
just west of here
3
a
: nothing more than : only
just a note
b
: quite sense 1, very
just wonderful
Etymology

Adjective

Middle English just "reasonable, proper," from early French juste and Latin justus (same meaning), from Latin jus "right, law" — related to judge, jury, prejudice

Legal Definition

just

adjective
: conforming to law or to the underlying principles of law: as
a
: conforming to reason or a standard of correctness
just sanctions cannot be excessive in relation to the offense
b
: conforming with what is deemed fair or good
the award of attorney's fees was just
the application of this rule retroactively is not just
justly adverb
justness noun
Etymology

Adjective

Latin justus lawful, merited, from jus right, law

More from Merriam-Webster on just

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