Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To demonstrate or prove to be just, right, or valid.
  • transitive verb To free (a human) of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin. Used of God.
  • transitive verb To demonstrate sufficient legal reason for (an action taken).
  • transitive verb To prove to be qualified as a bondsman.
  • transitive verb To format (a paragraph, for example) so that the lines of text begin and end evenly at a straight margin.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To prove or show to be just or conformable to reason, justice, duty, law, or propriety; vindicate; warrant; uphold.
  • To declare innocent or blameless; absolve; acquit; specifically, to free from the guilt or penalty of sin; reconcile to God.
  • To prove (any one) to be.
  • To make exact; cause to fit or be adapted, as the parts of a complex object; adjust, as lines or columns in printing.
  • To judge; pass judgment upon; hence, to punish with death; execute.
  • To agree; match; conform exactly; form an even surface or true line with something else: as, in printing, two lines of nonpareil and one of pica justify.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To prove or show to be just; to vindicate; to maintain or defend as conformable to law, right, justice, propriety, or duty.
  • transitive verb To pronounce free from guilt or blame; to declare or prove to have done that which is just, right, proper, etc.; to absolve; to exonerate; to clear.
  • transitive verb (Theol.) To treat as if righteous and just; to pardon; to exculpate; to absolve.
  • transitive verb obsolete To prove; to ratify; to confirm.
  • transitive verb (Print.) To make even or true, as lines of type, by proper spacing; to align (text) at the left (left justify) or right (right justify) margins of a column or page, or at both margins; to adjust, as type. See Justification, 4.
  • transitive verb To show (a person) to have had a sufficient legal reason for an act that has been made the subject of a charge or accusation.
  • transitive verb To qualify (one's self) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property.
  • intransitive verb (Print.) To form an even surface or true line with something else; to fit exactly.
  • intransitive verb (Law) To take oath to the ownership of property sufficient to qualify one's self as bail or surety.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To provide an acceptable explanation for.
  • verb transitive To be a good, acceptable reason for; warrant.
  • verb transitive To arrange (text) on a page or a computer screen such that the left and right ends of all lines within paragraphs are aligned.
  • verb transitive To absolve, and declare to be free of blame or sin

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb show to be reasonable or provide adequate ground for
  • verb let off the hook
  • verb defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning
  • verb adjust the spaces between words
  • verb show to be right by providing justification or proof

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English justifien, from Old French justifier, from Late Latin iūstificāre, from Latin, to act justly toward : iūstus, just; see just + -ficāre, -fy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin justificare ("make just"), from justus, iustus ("just"), + to make, from facere.

Examples

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