Synonym Chooser

How does the verb justify differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of justify are assert, defend, maintain, and vindicate. While all these words mean "to uphold as true, right, just, or reasonable," 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

When might assert be a better fit than justify?

The synonyms assert and justify are sometimes interchangeable, but assert suggests determination to make others accept one's claim.

asserted her rights

In what contexts can defend take the place of justify?

The words defend and justify are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, defend implies maintaining in the face of attack or criticism.

defended his voting record

When would maintain be a good substitute for justify?

While in some cases nearly identical to justify, maintain stresses firmness of conviction.

steadfastly maintained his innocence

When is it sensible to use vindicate instead of justify?

In some situations, the words vindicate and justify are roughly equivalent. However, vindicate implies successfully defending.

his success vindicated our faith in him

Thesaurus Entries Near justify

Cite this Entry

“Justify.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/justify. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on justify

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!