Definition of justify in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Show or prove to be right or reasonable.

    ‘the person appointed has fully justified our confidence’
    • ‘Her smile conveyed such a warm sense of wellbeing as to suggest she now felt confident that her problems were solved, and her confidence would subsequently prove to be entirely justified.’
    • ‘Every one of you must first prove and justify each talent and privilege.’
    • ‘Fully justifying its reputation, the Turkish cuisine, served at all the functions I attended, was a pleasant and delicious experience.’
    • ‘Wall was immense throughout and fully justified the complete confidence management had in him.’
    • ‘In other words, the arguments used to justify the ban have proven false.’
    • ‘In the end I think all will be justified and proven.’
    • ‘Within days, moreover, this confidence proved justified.’
    • ‘The defendant cannot justify one libel by proving the truth of another distinct libel.’
    • ‘The recommendation of the duck proved to have been justified.’
    • ‘It is not disputed that the onus is on the plaintiff to prove disability, while the onus is on the defendant to prove that dismissal was justified.’
    • ‘All of the pretexts used to justify the war have proven to be lies and fabrications.’
    • ‘They are making a show that the system has some reasonable and justified basis - they are using law and threat of force to bolster a basically irrational system.’
    • ‘Some of the results were not rigorously proved but were justified using phrases such as ‘it seems to me’ and ‘I am convinced’.’
    • ‘His sentiments were echoed by Richard Crumlish and it seems their confidence has been fully justified after the opening shows.’
    • ‘It was not an absolute right but any limitation of it had to be justified on reasonable grounds.’
    • ‘Your anxiety may prove to be fully justified, and if after the first year I'm persuaded that you are right I will have an opportunity to remedy the situation.’
    • ‘His decision to step down from being a prefect has proved to be justified.’
    • ‘If the demoted tenancy is breached, the council as landlords can evict the tenant without having to satisfy the court that this is justified or reasonable.’
    • ‘This is why choosing a broader approach for this paper would hopefully prove to be justified.’
    • ‘On the few occasions when he did question it he received a sharp response which on the figures was fully justified.’
    give grounds for, give reasons for, give a justification for, show just cause for, explain, give an explanation for, account for, prove to be reasonable, show to be reasonable, provide a rationale for, rationalize
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    1. 1.1 Be a good reason for.
      ‘the situation was grave enough to justify further investigation’
      • ‘Without the cash these commercially unviable exchanges would not have supported enough end users to justify the investment.’
      • ‘Well, there are a whole lot of reasons to justify the tax cut the president's been advocating.’
      • ‘The potential cost to the environment and human health of pollution caused by badly-managed composting sites justifies the level of new regulation.’
      • ‘This is the most surprising number they've yet come up with and I hope one that will prove and justify their longevity and popularity.’
      • ‘The Court therefore finds that the reasons put forward as justifying the interference found are not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of paragraph of Article 8.’
      • ‘The reasons justifying this approach were spelled out in an editorial in Le Monde.’
      • ‘Surely, the Prime Minister doesn't believe that 150 unbundled lines justifies the tag of competition?’
      • ‘Mr O'Grady said the lack of action by the police or Crown Prosecution Service since he was arrested justified his claim and proved the failings and shortcomings of the police and justice system.’
      • ‘They will usually be determined on the papers unless there are exceptional reasons justifying a hearing.’
      • ‘However, I personally remain unconvinced that this is a sufficient reason to justify public interest in the Clinton case.’
      • ‘There was no possible reason to justify any sort of feeling for this girl.’
      • ‘However, the difficulties encountered with this approach are one of the major reasons justifying the retention of the Fair Trading Act provisions discussed below.’
      • ‘On the face of it, this is an absurd claim and nothing in the piece justifies the headline.’
      • ‘The article is headlined: ‘Cyber war declared on World Bank’ but nothing in the piece really justifies such a strident headline.’
      • ‘The potential cost to the environment and human health justifies the level of new regulation.’
      • ‘Certainly, it is hard to discern the leap in activity that could justify this level of response.’
      • ‘The softness, strength and appearance of tissues are used as key reasons to justify the use of virgin forest wood fibres.’
      • ‘The criticisms of the law, and the absence of any satisfactory rationale justifies this course.’
      • ‘It justifies a larger space and needs some benevolent soul to offer a venue and find the time to liaise with art teachers across the area.’
      • ‘These seem reasons enough to justify his more favourable assessment in recent years.’
      warrant, be good reason for, be a justification for
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  • 2Theology
    Declare or make righteous in the sight of God.

    • ‘But now those who have faith and who are justified by grace are freed from these requirements for justification.’
    • ‘We are justified only by faith in this Jesus, he insists.’
    • ‘Some falsely claimed that because we are justified by faith, Paul taught that we can sin as much as we like!’
    • ‘The certainty Christians should have through being justified through faith in Christ is most important, and comes through the direct witness of the Spirit, indwelling the believer.’
    • ‘In Romans 3 Paul insists on six occasions that we are justified by faith.’
  • 3Printing
    Adjust (a line of type or piece of text) so that the print fills a space evenly or forms a straight edge at one or both margins.

    • ‘The following paragraph has been justified by a monospaced text-processing system.’
    • ‘The last of the three margins - the left hand margin - was used to keep a clear line for justifying the text.’
    • ‘In this justification method, the last line is not justified.’
    • ‘An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that justifying online text would yield excessive hyphenation.’
    • ‘Now poems are easily detectable on the page, because their right hand margins aren't justified.’


Middle English (in the senses ‘administer justice to’ and ‘inflict a judicial penalty on’): from Old French justifier, from Christian Latin justificare ‘do justice to’, from Latin justus (see just).