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 archaic : to administer justice tob archaic : absolvec : 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
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.
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 2just
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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