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 The agency has pointed to the pandemic and uncertainty about future transportation needs as justification. BostonGlobe.com, "MBTA plans to spend $2 billion on upgrades, repairs next year," 12 Apr. 2021 Biden’s press statement references the ‘historic spike in homicides’ as justification for his executive actions. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Biden says gun violence costs the country '$280B' per year," 8 Apr. 2021 Ducey cited declining case numbers as justification for lifting restrictions. Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic, "Will our rush to flee the pandemic land us back in the middle of it?," 30 Mar. 2021 Critics of the new research tell David Hambling at New Scientist that the results may provide justification to allow A.I. weapons to work with little to no oversight, which raises safety and ethical concerns. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Human Interruption Slows Down Military Robots in Simulations," 7 Dec. 2020 Property owners are not required to provide justification, only give notice. Washington Post, "Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes.," 27 Oct. 2020 Authorities provide little or no legal justification for the arrests and release most people after a few days, say human-rights groups. Nicholas Bariyo, WSJ, "Rwanda’s Aggressive Approach to Covid Wins Plaudits—and Warnings," 29 Sep. 2020 The threat of deflation — a destructive decline in prices — would provide another justification for central bank action. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "Surging Euro Presents E.C.B. With a Dilemma," 10 Sep. 2020 That was the justification for considering human challenge trials a few months ago to study COVID-19 vaccines. Alice Park, Time, "It's Not Clear That We Actually Need Human Challenge Trials for COVID-19, But the U.K. Is Moving Ahead With Them Anyway," 18 Feb. 2021

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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Justification.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/justification. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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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

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