tr.v. jus·ti·fied, jus·ti·fy·ing, jus·ti·fies
1. To demonstrate or prove to be just, right, or valid: justified each budgetary expense as necessary; anger that is justified by the circumstances.
2. To free (a human) of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin. Used of God.
a. To demonstrate sufficient legal reason for (an action taken).
b. To prove to be qualified as a bondsman.
4. To format (a paragraph, for example) so that the lines of text begin and end evenly at a straight margin.
[Middle English justifien, from Old French justifier, from Late Latin iūstificāre, from Latin, to act justly toward : iūstus, just; see JUST1 + -ficāre, -fy.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.