justify

verb
jus·​ti·​fy | \ ˈjə-stə-ˌfī How to pronounce justify (audio) \
justified; justifying

Definition of justify

transitive verb

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 Milton
b(1) : to show to have had a sufficient legal reason
(2) : to qualify (oneself) as a surety (see surety sense 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 Herberg
b archaic : to administer justice to
c archaic : absolve
3a : to space (lines of text) so that the lines come out even at the margin
b : to make even by spacing lines of text justified margins

intransitive verb

1a : to show a sufficient lawful reason for an act done
b : to qualify as bail or surety the surety justified on the bail bond
2 : to justify lines of text

Other Words from justify

justifier \ ˈjə-​stə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce justify (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for justify

Synonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for justify

maintain, assert, defend, vindicate, justify mean to uphold as true, right, just, or reasonable. maintain stresses firmness of conviction. steadfastly maintained his innocence assert suggests determination to make others accept one's claim. asserted her rights defend implies maintaining in the face of attack or criticism. defended his voting record vindicate implies successfully defending. his success vindicated our faith in him justify implies showing to be true, just, or valid by appeal to a standard or to precedent. the action was used to justify military intervention

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 on the Web While the collapsing crypto market may justify the punishment for the stock, analysts state the bonds are getting a bad rap. Dylan Sloan, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 As such, Apple might struggle to justify a price hike for the standard models. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 3 Aug. 2022 The nature of clothing can make recycling ineffective or impossible, because the labor required to separate out the components of any one garment would be too difficult, and too costly to justify. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2022 Of course, the Pixel 6 Pro also brings a host of other improvements over the Pixel 6a that justify its higher price, including a larger, sharper display and class-leading battery life. PCMAG, 2 Aug. 2022 Put that all together and the potential benefit of a mask mandate isn’t substantial enough to justify the inconvenience, public backlash and other costs that come with it, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, chief health officer of Seattle and King County. Corinne Purtill, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin has cited Kosovo to justify his recognition of two separatist provinces in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, 31 July 2022 Speaking of which, that opening scene is where the film attempts to justify Binoche’s accent. Joe Leydon, Variety, 28 July 2022 Gladstone admitted during testimony to planting drugs inside’s a suspect’s truck to justify the arrest and subsequent search of their motel room. Jessica Anderson, Baltimore Sun, 28 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of justify

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for justify

Middle English justifien, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French justifier, from Late Latin justificare, from Latin justus — see just entry 1

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Time Traveler for justify

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near justify

justified

justify

justifying space

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Statistics for justify

Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Justify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/justify. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for justify

justify

verb
jus·​ti·​fy | \ ˈjəs-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce justify (audio) \
justified; justifying

Kids Definition of justify

: to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable How can you justify your actions?

Other Words from justify

justifiable \ -​ə-​bəl \ adjective
justifiably \ -​blē \ adverb

justify

verb
jus·​ti·​fy | \ ˈjəs-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce justify (audio) \
justified; justifying

Legal Definition of justify

transitive verb

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 himselfState v. Doss, 568 P.2d 1054 (1977)

intransitive verb

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 $200Oregon 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)

More from Merriam-Webster on justify

Nglish: Translation of justify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of justify for Arabic Speakers

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