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From Middle English justifien, borrowed from Old French justifier, from Late Latin justificare (make just), from Latin justus, iustus (just) + ficare (make), from facere, equivalent to just +‎ -ify.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdʒʌstɪfaɪ/
  • Hyphenation: jus‧ti‧fy
  • (file)


justify (third-person singular simple present justifies, present participle justifying, simple past and past participle justified)

  1. (transitive) To provide an acceptable explanation for.
    How can you justify spending so much money on clothes?
    Paying too much for car insurance is not justified.
  2. (transitive) To be a good, acceptable reason for; warrant.
    Nothing can justify your rude behaviour last night.
    • E. Everett
      Unless the oppression is so extreme as to justify revolution, it would not justify the evil of breaking up a government.
  3. (transitive) To arrange (text) on a page or a computer screen such that the left and right ends of all lines within paragraphs are aligned.
    The text will look better justified.
  4. (transitive) To absolve, and declare to be free of blame or sin.
    • Shakespeare
      I cannot justify whom the law condemns.
    • Bible, Acts xiii. 39
      By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
  5. To prove; to ratify; to confirm.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  6. (law) To show (a person) to have had a sufficient legal reason for an act that has been made the subject of a charge or accusation.
  7. (law) To qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property.
    • Bouvier's Law Dictionary
      The production of bail in court, who there justify themselves against the exception of the plaintiff.

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.