Definition of justify
1a : to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable trying to justify his selfish behavior I shouldn't have to justify myself to them. justify the ways of God to man — John Miltonb (1) : to show to have had a sufficient legal reason (2) : to qualify (oneself) as a surety (see surety 3) by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property
2a : to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation God justifies with his forgiveness and grace the man who comes to him — Will Herbergb archaic : to administer justice toc archaic : absolve
3a : to space (lines of text) so that the lines come out even at the marginb : to make even by spacing lines of text justified margins
1a : to show a sufficient lawful reason for an act doneb : to qualify as bail or surety the surety justified on the bail bond
2 : to justify lines of text
justifierplay \ˈjə-stə-ˌfī(-ə)r\ noun
Examples of justify in a Sentence
He tried to justify his behavior by saying that he was being pressured unfairly by his boss.
The fact that we are at war does not justify treating innocent people as criminals.
Recent Examples of justify from the Web
None of the usual reasons coaches give, publicly or privately, for blocking transfers to certain schools justifies the practice.
Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel to take over the investigation, wrote the memorandum intended to justify Trump’s decision to fire Comey.
Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel to take over the investigation, wrote the memorandum intended to justify Trump's decision to fire Comey.
Home loans vary by country and differences in borrowers’ repayment behavior justify a more nuanced approach, rather than imposing the same sets of capital charges on all banks’ mortgages, Cryan said Tuesday at an investor conference in New York.
The administration has still not produced any factual basis justifying the six-country ban.
The ending of the game, which meant the continuation of a season, justified the Aztecs’ joy.
In 2000, Democrats added three seats to the Court of Appeals, arguing that the court’s caseload justified the expansion, but also setting a precedent that Republicans are now eager to reverse.
Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, this month lost the latest round of its battle over $60 million the state says is owed for enrollment that cannot be justified.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'justify'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of justify
Middle English justifien, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French justifier, from Late Latin justificare, from Latin justus —see 1just
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of justify
JUSTIFY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of justify for English Language Learners
: to provide or be a good reason for (something) : to prove or show (something) to be just, right, or reasonable
: to provide a good reason for the actions of (someone)
: to position (text) so that the edges form a straight line
JUSTIFY Defined for Kids
Definition of justify for Students
: to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable How can you justify your actions?
Legal Definition of justify
1 : to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable does not justify a denial of bail
2 : to show to have had a legally sufficient reason or cause a defendant may not set up his own standard of conduct to justify or excuse himself — State v. Doss, 568 P.2d 1054 (1977)
1 : to show a legally sufficient reason for an act
2 : to swear an oath as to the ownership of sufficient property they shall justify in an amount no less than $200 — Oregon Revised Statutes; also : to qualify as a surety by swearing such an oath the defendants sought to justify as bail — State v. Blaisdell, 253 A.2d 341 (1969)
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