jus·​ti·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌjə-stə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce justification (audio) \

Definition of justification

1a : the act or an instance of justifying something : vindication arguments offered in justification of their choice
b : an acceptable reason for doing something : something that justifies an act or way of behaving could provide no justification for his decision
2 : the act, process, or state of being justified by God (see justify sense 2a)
3 : the process or result of justifying lines of text (see justify sense 3a) software that provides automatic justification of text

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Synonyms for justification


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Examples of justification in a Sentence

He tried to present a justification for his behavior. There is no possible justification for what she did. His behavior is without justification.
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Recent Examples on the Web If the crowd became violent first, police can claim justification for their unprecedented firing of less-lethal projectiles at the citizenry. cleveland, "Why the truth about the May 30 Cleveland riot matters, and why reporter Cory Shaffer won’t rest until you have it," 4 July 2020 Parents should be able to continue virtual learning from home rather than sending their students to school buildings, and families that choose to do so should not have to provide any justification. al, "Former Birmingham superintendent takes reins of Atlanta schools," 1 July 2020 Such talk is antithetical to China's leaders and the need to stamp out separatism has been given as a key justification for a new national security law. James Griffiths, CNN, "From the Qing Empire to the People's Republic, China's worries about separatism run deep," 29 June 2020 The number of coronavirus cases has surged in the intervening months, prompting many parts of the country to slow or roll back reopening efforts and giving advertisers added justification to rein in spending. Kurt Wagner, BostonGlobe.com, "Facebook sales at risk as Starbucks bails, GM plans review," 29 June 2020 Truman’s actions in Korea has been used by U.S. presidents as justification for military interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and UN missions in Bosnia and Haiti. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "The Korean War never technically ended. Here’s why.," 24 June 2020 Facebook said Trump was using the pandemic as a justification for limiting immigration. NBC News, "Tech CEOs blast Trump's new immigration order, but experts say it's 'a lot of bark'," 20 June 2020 The Council cited rising settlement costs as another justification for the change. Washington Examiner, "Minneapolis City Council votes to replace police with another model," 16 June 2020 Critics have accused the administration of further restricting humanitarian programs for border-crossers and using the pandemic as a justification. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "The U.S. gave her refuge from gangs. But her 13-year-old daughter was expelled under Trump's new border policy," 10 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'justification.' 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 justification

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for justification

see justify

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Time Traveler for justification

Time Traveler

The first known use of justification was in the 14th century

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Statistics for justification

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Justification.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/justification. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for justification


How to pronounce justification (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of justification

: an acceptable reason for doing something : something that justifies an action


jus·​ti·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌjəs-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce justification (audio) \

Kids Definition of justification

1 : the act or an instance of proving to be just, right, or reasonable
2 : sufficient reason to show that an action is correct or acceptable


jus·​ti·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌjəs-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce justification (audio) \

Legal Definition of justification

1 : the act or an instance of justifying
2 : something that justifies specifically : a legally sufficient reason or cause (as self-defense) for an act that would otherwise be criminal or tortious
3 : the affirmative defense of having a legally sufficient justification — compare excuse

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