Definition of judgment in English:


(also judgement)


  • 1The ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.

    ‘an error of judgment’
    ‘that is not, in my judgment, the end of the matter’
    • ‘I stopped my words there, realizing the error in my judgment.’
    • ‘That her decision was a reasonable decision, in her judgment - in his judgment, I mean.’
    • ‘‘This is the day of the voters and we have absolute confidence in their judgment,’ Mr Caramanlis said.’
    • ‘Enraged, Lear banishes Cordelia from the kingdom, only to later recognise the error in his judgement.’
    • ‘What is, in your judgment, the principal reason for it?’
    • ‘He felt safe with women because they were easier in their judgment of his abilities and feelings.’
    • ‘Ten more patients like this simply increases the capacity for those making the decisions to make errors in their judgment.’
    • ‘In my judgement those overall conclusions did not require elaboration.’
    • ‘In my judgment, it was a carefully thought-through decision, not only by the president but by the senior military.’
    • ‘In my judgment the conclusion must be that general use on the roads is to be contemplated.’
    • ‘In our judgment there was no error in the approach, nor in the conclusion reached by the sentencing judge.’
    • ‘Of course, we don't plan to be the ones to tell the big man of the error in his judgment.’
    • ‘It is characterized by a loss of intellectual abilities such as judgment, memory and abstract thought.’
    • ‘That is what she thinks, but this is an error, in my judgment.’
    • ‘For this reason, in my judgment, the decision of the Tribunal on this issue is flawed and cannot stand.’
    • ‘In my judgment the conclusion at which the Tribunal arrived on this issue was one which was open to them on the facts.’
    • ‘That document contributed immensely to the acceptance of the decision-usefulness theory for two reasons, in my judgment.’
    • ‘Justin's shrewd judgement and his ability to make the necessary changes when needed contributed to this famous victory over the rebels.’
    • ‘Is there, in your judgment, reasonable expectation that the dollar is going to lose value here in the months ahead in response to that massive deficit?’
    • ‘What I don't believe however is that they were prophets or infallible or delivered from all possibilities of error in their judgment.’
    in my opinion, to my mind, in my view, to my way of thinking, i believe, i think, as i see it, if you ask me, personally, in my book, for my money, in my estimation
    discernment, acumen, shrewdness, astuteness, common sense, good sense, sense, perception, perspicacity, percipience, penetration, acuity, discrimination, wisdom, wit, native wit, judiciousness, prudence, sagacity, understanding, intelligence, awareness, canniness, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, cleverness, powers of reasoning, reason, logic
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An opinion or conclusion.
      ‘they make subjective judgments about children's skills’
      • ‘Hall does not draw conclusions or make judgments about his subjects but allows readers to form their own interpretations.’
      • ‘I had just spent seven years in an English public school, a school which in terms of its attitudes, beliefs and judgements was not so much out of date as stuck in a time warp, back in the nineteenth century.’
      • ‘It is doubtful if there will ever be a conclusive judgement about colonialism.’
      • ‘He passes judgments and expresses opinions without adequate knowledge of facts.’
      • ‘Indeed, it is just these potential biases and subjective judgments being made by the sitters that obviously cries out for controlling.’
      • ‘Adams' biography confesses to concentrating less on the later years and this deprives the book of a conclusive judgment about its subject.’
      • ‘A referee only makes a judgement based upon his opinion.’
      • ‘Naturally, when making such decisions, one's own culture and pre-conditioned opinions and judgments are strong influences.’
      • ‘We may have our own subjective judgments about this matter, but we should at least have the honesty to recognize that they are completely irrelevant.’
      • ‘That is, I make my own ill-informed judgements of their varyingly-informed opinions.’
      • ‘But when the public world doesn't hold to the idea of cultural value, their judgements are merely personal opinions.’
      • ‘The fight will not bear fruit if it assumes the preserve of emotionalism and unbridled hatred or preformed conclusions and judgments.’
      • ‘Evaluation, on the other hand, seeks to draw conclusions and render judgments on the quality of the performance task: in this case, the test.’
      • ‘The new services are non-directive, which means that the counsellor does not give an opinion or form a judgement.’
      • ‘The underwriter might also charge higher rates based upon subjective judgements and conclusions from their analysis of your property values.’
      • ‘Something I will never give a judgment or an opinion on is how many children a family should have.’
      • ‘Our attachment to all the petty judgments and opinions and chatter endlessly flowing through our own heads is how we keep God at bay.’
      • ‘Then everyone else can give their opinion and make a judgment.’
      • ‘But these are subjective rather than objective judgments.’
      • ‘In fact, we go out of our way to refrain from making a judgment based on our opinions of the views expressed in an advertisement.’
    2. 1.2A decision of a court or judge.
      ‘the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Alberta Court of Appeal’
      • ‘A motion by the Plaintiffs for a summary judgment as to the Defendants' liability and negligence was dismissed.’
      • ‘Does somebody who consents to a judgment have a prima facie right to costs, or not?’
      • ‘Civil contempt at common law consists largely in disobeying a judgment or a court order.’
      • ‘In addition, the applicants complained that the county courts' residence judgments were not pronounced publicly.’
      • ‘The power of this Court to grant orders staying execution of judgments pending applications for special leave to appeal is undoubted.’
      • ‘Many great defamation judgments have been written by Chancery judges.’
      • ‘I find nothing in those judgments which determines the point which falls for decision on this appeal.’
      • ‘There are a number of helpful passages in the judgments in that decision.’
      • ‘The domestic law of France can properly determine what judgments may be enforced in that country.’
      • ‘The order was made following a summary judgment hearing upon affidavits.’
      • ‘Rather than go to court, civil defendants may accept default judgments.’
      • ‘This is because trial judgments and sentencing decisions were not differentiated by Coates et al.’
      • ‘Many of the leading decisions contain judgments by Lord Denning which should be read for their chronological symmetry and clarity of exposition.’
      • ‘When reviewing cases, councils will also need to take into account any fresh case law judgments from the Appeal Court that may be relevant.’
      • ‘But the problem is that American courts don't enforce Australian defamation judgements unless liability would also have arisen under American law.’
      • ‘It seems clear that the diocese's insurers will not cover much of any future negligent supervision judgements or settlements.’
      • ‘This nuanced study of the U.K. shows how difficult it can be to really tell if Strasbourg judgments and decisions have in practice been properly executed.’
      • ‘But then you have a decision and a judgment of a single judge of the Federal Court.’
      • ‘I reckon that whatever court it be, it should base on facts to make a decision and make a judgment.’
      • ‘The other issue with regard to planning is the issue of the lengthy and abundant jurisdictional judgments and decisions about various aspects of planning and consents.’
      verdict, decision, adjudication, ruling, pronouncement, decree, finding, conclusion, determination
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  • 2A misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.

    ‘the crash had been a judgment on the parents for wickedness’
    • ‘So, Sue asked the DUP councillor, could Katrina have been a divine judgement on born-again Christians?’
    • ‘His death is the divine judgment on me and my sins which he, the blessed Lamb of God, took instead of me.’
    • ‘The loss of the temple was a divine judgment on account of the unfaithfulness of the priests, scribes and Sanhedrin elders.’
    • ‘In this modern perspective, the death penalty expresses not the divine judgment on objective evil but rather the collective anger of the group.’
    punishment, retribution, penalty
    View synonyms


In British English, the normal spelling in general contexts is judgement. However, the spelling judgment is conventional in legal contexts, and standard in North American English


  • against one's better judgment

    • Contrary to what one believes to be wise or sensible.

      • ‘Despite this and against my better judgement, I said Lee could come round for a meal while I was out visiting my sister.’
      • ‘So, I gave it a try, against my better judgment, it has to be said.’
      • ‘Much against my better judgement, I ventured out of my warm flat this morning to browse round the local shops.’
      • ‘They are doing it against their better judgment.’
      • ‘My wife Marilyn warned me not to do it, against my better judgement.’
      • ‘I even posted the lyrics, against my better judgement…’
      • ‘I was on dog walking duty against my better judgement.’
      • ‘I listened to the tape against my better judgment.’
      • ‘So, against my better judgment and riddled with naivety, I said yes.’
      • ‘I have just consented - against my better judgement - to allow my daughter to go on holiday abroad with a friend and her family.’
      reluctantly, unwillingly, grudgingly, under protest
      despite oneself
      View synonyms
  • pass judgment

    • 1(of a court or judge) give a decision concerning a defendant or legal matter.

      ‘he passed judgment on the accused’
      • ‘You know I always wonder about the kind of people who sit on these judges benches and pass judgment over people.’
      • ‘It should, however, be made clear that under Article 234 the ECJ does not pass judgment on the validity as such of a national law.’
      • ‘Because judges apply the law, punish those who violate it, and - most significantly - confront and pass judgment on drug offenders.’
      • ‘One manufacturer challenged this amendment, but ultimately the Supreme Court passed judgment in favour of the government of India.’
      • ‘It was unnecessary on the application to pass judgment on his litigation style because it did not affect the jurisdiction of the trial judge.’
      • ‘The courts of the Home State would presumably pass judgement on decisions made by the tax authorities of their jurisdiction, even when the bulk of economic activity occurred elsewhere.’
      • ‘That was the issue the jury never passed judgment over.’
      • ‘It was thought that it would be improper and illogical to ask an appellate jury to pass judgment again on guilt or innocence (unless, on account of gross errors of law the Court of Appeal remits a case to the trial court for a new trial).’
      • ‘Judicial review gained added importance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as courts passed judgment on laws regulating corporate behavior and working conditions.’
      1. 1.1Criticize or condemn someone from a position of assumed moral superiority.
        • ‘Unplanned pregnancies are not new, nor uncommon, and only the unwise will pass judgment in matters of unexpected paternity.’
        • ‘I expected him to follow up this statement with a regaled tale of personal career direction gone wrong, but slowly realised he had just passed judgement on my capabilities.’
        • ‘We, as citizens, are not in a position to pass judgment on how people deal with such issues in their personal lives.’
        • ‘Though I have strong opinions on all of these, I am not passing judgement on American positions here.’
        • ‘Meanwhile, a sceptical public have already passed judgment on his reputation.’
        • ‘He added that the council was not in a position to pass judgment on the characteristics of the clientele who would use the proposed massage parlour.’
        • ‘Most commentators have passed judgment on this, the first live televising of a British court case, by dismissing the lengthy legal exchanges as unutterably tedious.’
        • ‘Do you have a little voice inside your head that is constantly passing judgment on you, criticizing you at every turn?’
        • ‘Not because I've passed judgment on whether or not it's a ‘classic’, as such, but because there were so many other films in this period and I'm keen to get a spread from the silents up until the 1990s.’
        • ‘He always had time to listen and offer advice to family and friends and never passed judgement on others.’
  • reserve judgment

    • Delay the process of judging or giving one's opinion.

      • ‘Senator Domenici said ‘not yet,’ which is fair, because people are reserving judgment.’
      • ‘Republicans are reserving judgment at this time, but they are calling for congressional hearings.’
      • ‘It's a negotiating process and I think we need to just reserve judgment on almost every aspect of it.’
      • ‘Judge Ibbotson reserved judgement on the case to consider the evidence.’
      • ‘South African observers praised ‘the tranquillity and the peacefulness’ of the weekend voting, but reserved judgment on whether the process had been free and fair.’
      • ‘‘I was not happy with the judge reserving judgment,’ he said.’
      • ‘While reserving judgment on reparations to Kuwait, Washington has called for creditor countries to wipe the slate clean - at least when it comes to debts to countries like France and Russia.’
      • ‘I don't know much about Frist, so I'm reserving judgment.’
      • ‘I am reserving judgment on Judy's status in the investigation because I have no facts one way or the other.’
      • ‘The taskforce is already split, with observers from South Africa and Nigeria indicating approval of the election while Australia, although reserving judgment, is expected to condemn it.’
  • sit in judgment

    • Assume the right to judge someone, especially in a critical manner.

      • ‘The duke, who sits in judgement, will not intervene as Portia enters in the guise as a lawyer to defend Antonio.’
      • ‘Who would like a part-time, non-committed judge to sit in judgement on a particular case, if one were a litigant?’
      • ‘Scotland's unique Children's Hearing system - in which lay people sit in judgment on young offenders and vulnerable children to decide on the best course of treatment - will be toughened.’
      • ‘As far as he's concerned these people have already sat in judgment on him and decided he had a case to answer.’
      • ‘They don't want judges from other countries sitting in judgement on their soldiers and politicians.’
      • ‘The case ended in a hung jury, even though the jury consisted entirely of military officers sitting in judgment on criticism of their commanding officer.’
      • ‘And that is precisely why Judge Judy failed to do her duty when sitting in judgement of that habitual offender.’
      • ‘For example, pretty much everyone agrees that a judge should not sit in judgment in a case on appeal if he participated in the decision below.’
      • ‘A critic or a cinegoer can sit in judgement on a film and say that a subject is shallow.’
      • ‘Their description of the horrors they came across were reported to the judges who later sat in judgement on the leaders of the Reich and must have influenced them in some way.’


Middle English: from Old French jugement, from juger to judge.