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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English justifien, 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.
    • 1861, Edward Everett, The Great Issues Now Before the Country, An oration delivered at the New York Academy of Music, July 4, 1861, New York: James G. Gregory, p. 8,[1]
      Unless the oppression is so extreme as to justify revolution, it would not justify the evil of breaking up a government, under an abstract constitutional right to do so.
  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.
  5. (reflexive) To give reasons for one’s actions; to make an argument to prove that one is in the right.
    She felt no need to justify herself for deciding not to invite him.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Luke 16.15,[4]
      And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
    • 1848, Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Chapter 13,[5]
      [] I was equally unable to justify myself and unwilling to acknowledge my errors []
  6. To prove; to ratify; to confirm.
  7. (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.
  8. (law) To qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property.

Related terms[edit]


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.