AskDefine | Define justify

Dictionary Definition



1 show to be reasonable or provide adequate ground for; "The emergency does not warrant all of us buying guns"; "The end justifies the means" [syn: warrant]
2 show to be right by providing justification or proof; "vindicate a claim" [syn: vindicate]
3 defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning; "rationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior"; "he rationalized his lack of success" [syn: apologize, apologise, excuse, rationalize, rationalise]
4 let off the hook; "I absolve you from this responsibility" [syn: absolve, free] [ant: blame]
5 adjust the spaces between words; "justify the margins" [also: justified]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


From Latin justificare, make just, from justus, iustus, just, + ficare, make, from facere.


  • /ˈdʒʌstɪfaɪ/


  1. To provide an acceptable explanation.
    How can you justify spending so much money on clothes?
    Paying too much for car insurance is not justified.
  2. To give a good, acceptable reason for something.
    Nothing can justify your rude behaviour last night.
  3. To arrange lines on a page or computer screen in such a way that both edges of writing are straight.
    The text will look better justified.


to provide an acceptable explanation
to give a good, acceptable reason for something
to arrange lines on a page or computer screen

Extensive Definition

The term justify has many meanings:
  • To one's statement with positive evidence, see justification
  • In telecommunication, the term justify has the following meanings:
    • To shift the contents of a register or a field so that the significant character at the specified end of the data is at a particular position.
  • justification in typesetting, i.e. To align text horizontally or vertically so that the first and last characters of every line, or the first and last line of the text, are aligned with their corresponding margins.
    • To align data on a designated character position.
  • In mathematics, the term justify means to prove the validity of a claim using an accepted method of proof. See Mathematical proof.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absolve, account, account for, acquit, allow, amnesty, approve, argue, assert, authenticate, authorize, back, bear out, claim, clear, compose, confirm, contend, corroborate, cry sour grapes, decontaminate, defend, demonstrate, destigmatize, discharge, dismiss, dispense from, do justice to, exculpate, excuse, exempt, exempt from, exonerate, explain, explain away, extenuate, forgive, free, give absolution, gloss, grant amnesty to, grant immunity, grant remission, impose, legalize, legitimate, legitimatize, legitimize, let go, let off, make up, nonpros, overrun, palliate, pardon, permit, pi, pi a form, prove, purge, quash the charge, rationalize, rehabilitate, reinstate, release, remit, restore, sanction, set, set free, set in print, shrive, substantiate, support, sustain, uphold, validate, verify, vindicate, warrant, whitewash, withdraw the charge
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