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


alibi, apology, defense, excuse, plea, reason

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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 state lawmakers want to encourage more housing construction, researchers suggested requiring cities to establish fees early in the project, provide more justification for charges, and consider reducing fees on accessory dwelling units, or AUDs. Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, "California housing crisis: Development fees unpredictable, stifle construction," 8 Aug. 2019 Best BuyAppleS&P 500GapNike The announcement comes a day after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell cited ongoing trade tensions as justification for the Fed’s first interest rate cut in a decade. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "Trump announces a new 10% tariff on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports," 1 Aug. 2019 This, however, does not provide a justification for ultra-high tax rates. Jared Dillian, Twin Cities, "Jared Dillian: High-tax states are practicing financial destruction," 11 July 2019 In short, the evidence suggested that Ross looked for a justification for the question after deciding to add it. Li Zhou, Vox, "The Trump administration plans a fight to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census," 3 July 2019 Baltimore County police officials have said previously, however, that there is not a legal justification for the sanctuary to get the calf back. Cody Boteler, baltimoresun.com, "Arrest warrant issued for Baltimore County farmer whose calf was being sheltered in Virginia," 28 June 2019 The criticisms may find a receptive jurist in Ellis, who used a hearing earlier this month to criticize Mueller's legal justification for investigating Manafort. David Voreacos, chicagotribune.com, "Paul Manafort accuses Mueller prosecutors of smearing him with leaks," 22 May 2018 There is no justification for it other than enabling owners to enrich themselves by diluting their product. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: It's big-boy baseball season and it's OK to wonder what if, Reds fans," 16 July 2019 Inflation has remained muted through much of the economy’s 10-year expansion, which Powell has said cited as a justification for potentially lowering rates. Alex Veiga, The Denver Post, "Dow Jones industrials cross 27,000 points for first time," 11 July 2019

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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Statistics for justification

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for justification

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

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More Definitions for justification



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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Comments on justification

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


not constant or steady

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