jus·​tice | \ ˈjə-stəs How to pronounce justice (audio) \

Definition of justice

1a : the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments meting out justice social justice
b : judge a supreme court justice used as a title Justice Marshall
c : the administration of law a fugitive from justice especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity a system of justice
2a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair questioned the justice of the their decision
b(1) : the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action
(2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : righteousness the justice of their cause
c : the quality of conforming to law
3 : conformity to truth, fact, or reason : correctness admitted that there was much justice in these observations— T. L. Peacock

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Synonyms & Antonyms for justice


equity, fair shake, right


inequity, injustice, raw deal, wrong

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Examples of justice in a Sentence

They received justice in court. the U.S. Department of Justice criminals attempting to escape justice The role of the courts is to dispense justice fairly to everyone. She is a justice of the state supreme court. I saw no justice in the court's decision. We should strive to achieve justice for all people.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Rollins is one of a wave of prosecutors around the country elected to rethink how the criminal justice system operates. Adrian Walker, BostonGlobe.com, "Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins thinks her fight with judges is long overdue," 5 Sep. 2019 The Kentucky study is one of the first in-depth, independent assessments of what happens when algorithms are injected into a justice system. Wired, "Algorithms Should’ve Made Courts More Fair. What Went Wrong?," 5 Sep. 2019 Keith's arrest exposed a weakness in Johnson County's justice system, where there is no secure detention facility for sick or injured inmates. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "The World War II vet was held captive by an escapee. Then he became someone else.," 3 Sep. 2019 The Lederman’s lobbying efforts worked, according to officials in the state justice system and Democratic state lawmakers. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "States are trying to change a system that keeps poor people in jail. The bail industry is blocking them.," 30 Aug. 2019 The database was another escalation of a political fight with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle over how the county’s criminal justice system prosecutes those accused of gun crimes. Jeremy Gorner, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago police launch GunStat to fight gun violence by ‘identifying gaps and closing loopholes’ in justice system," 29 Aug. 2019 Members also questioned the growing role of private, for-profit companies in the criminal justice system. Andrew Kenney, The Denver Post, "Denver City Council approves new contracts with for-profit detention companies — with promise of change," 26 Aug. 2019 The university is hiring 14 new faculty members this year in high-demand areas such as criminal justice and business analytics. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "‘It allows us to dream big:’ The fastest-growing college in Texas fills a gap by focusing on homegrown students," 26 Aug. 2019 Warren’s new plan includes a series of policies that reflect the wishes of progressive activists who say the criminal justice system is racist and want to ease penalties for relatively minor infractions. Sahil Kapur, Fortune, "Elizabeth Warren Wants to Repeal the Joe Biden-Authored 1994 Crime Bill," 20 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'justice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of justice

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for justice

Middle English, from Anglo-French justise, from Latin justitia, from justus — see just entry 1

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Statistics for justice

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for justice

The first known use of justice was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for justice



English Language Learners Definition of justice

: the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals
US : a judge in a court of law
used as a title for a judge (such as a judge of the U.S. Supreme Court)


jus·​tice | \ ˈjəs-təs How to pronounce justice (audio) \

Kids Definition of justice

1 : fair treatment Everyone deserves justice.
3 : the process or result of using laws to fairly judge people accused of crimes
4 : the quality of being fair or just They were treated with justice.


jus·​tice | \ ˈjəs-təs How to pronounce justice (audio) \

Legal Definition of justice

1a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair it is not the province of the court to decide upon the justice or injustice…of these lawsScott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857)
b : the principle or ideal of just dealing also : conformity to the principle or ideal of just dealing
2a : the administration of law a fugitive from justice especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to law or equity system of justice
b : fair, just, or impartial legal process courts or tribunals…for the administration of international justice— G. R. Winters
3 : judge especially : a judge of an appellate court or court of last resort (as a supreme court) insults to particular justices and threats of civil disobedience were bandied freely — R. H. Bork

History and Etymology for justice

Old French, from Latin justitia, from justus just

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More from Merriam-Webster on justice

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for justice

Spanish Central: Translation of justice

Nglish: Translation of justice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of justice for Arabic Speakers

Comments on justice

What made you want to look up justice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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