[ juhs-tuh-fahy ]
See synonyms for: justifyjustifiedjustifying on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),jus·ti·fied, jus·ti·fy·ing.
  1. to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right: The end does not always justify the means.

  2. to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded: Don't try to justify his rudeness.

  1. Theology. to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit

  2. Printing.

    • to make (a line of type) a desired length by spacing the words and letters, especially so that full lines in a column have even margins both on the left and on the right.

    • to level and square (a strike).

verb (used without object),jus·ti·fied, jus·ti·fy·ing.
  1. Law.

    • to show a satisfactory reason or excuse for something done.

    • to qualify as bail or surety.

  2. Printing. (of a line of type) to fit exactly into a desired length.

Origin of justify

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English justifien, from Old French justifier, from Late Latin jūstificāre, equivalent to Latin jūsti- (combining form of jūstus just1) + -ficāre -fy

Other words for justify

Other words from justify

  • jus·ti·fi·er, noun
  • jus·ti·fy·ing·ly, adverb
  • pre·jus·ti·fy, verb (used with object), pre·jus·ti·fied, pre·jus·ti·fy·ing.
  • re·jus·ti·fy, verb (used with object), re·jus·ti·fied, re·jus·ti·fy·ing.

Words Nearby justify

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use justify in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for justify


/ (ˈdʒʌstɪˌfaɪ) /

verb-fies, -fying or -fied (mainly tr)
  1. (often passive) to prove or see to be just or valid; vindicate: he was certainly justified in taking the money

  2. to show to be reasonable; warrant or substantiate: his behaviour justifies our suspicion

  1. to declare or show to be free from blame or guilt; absolve

  2. law

    • to show good reason in court for (some action taken)

    • to show adequate grounds for doing (that with which a person is charged): to justify a libel

  3. (also intr) printing computing to adjust the spaces between words in (a line of type or data) so that it is of the required length or (of a line of type or data) to fit exactly

    • Protestant theol to account or declare righteous by the imputation of Christ's merits to the sinner

    • RC theol to change from sinfulness to righteousness by the transforming effects of grace

  4. (also intr) law to prove (a person) to have sufficient means to act as surety, etc, or (of a person) to qualify to provide bail or surety

Origin of justify

C14: from Old French justifier, from Latin justificāre, from jūstus just + facere to make

Derived forms of justify

  • justifier, noun

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