[juhs-tuh-fi-key-shuh n]
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  1. a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends: His insulting you was ample justification for you to leave the party.
  2. an act of justifying: The painter's justification of his failure to finish on time didn't impress me.
  3. the state of being justified.
  4. Also called justification by faith. Theology. the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.
  5. Printing. the spacing of words and letters within a line of type so that all full lines in a column have even margins both on the left and on the right.

Origin of justification

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin jūstificātiōn- (stem of jūstificātiō), equivalent to jūstificāt(us), past participle of jūstificāre justify (see justificatory) + -iōn- -ion
Related formspre·jus·ti·fi·ca·tion, nounre·jus·ti·fi·ca·tion, nounsu·per·jus·ti·fi·ca·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for justification


  1. reasonable grounds for complaint, defence, etc
  2. the act of justifying; proof, vindication, or exculpation
  3. theol
    1. the act of justifying
    2. the process of being justified or the condition of having been justified
  4. Also called: justification by faith Protestant theol the doctrine that God vindicates only those who repent and believe in Jesus
  5. printing computing the process of adjusting interword spacing in text or data so that both right and left margins are straight
  6. computing the process of moving data right or left so that the first or last character occurs in a predefined position
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for justification

late 14c., "administration of justice," from Late Latin iustificationem (nominative iustificatio), noun of action from past participle stem of iustificare (see justify). Meaning "action of justifying" is from late 15c. Theological sense is from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper