To justify is to make excuses for one's actions, like the dieter who has to justify the few tiny pieces of chocolate she's sneaked in between salads.

Anyone who has ever made excuses for his or her actions knows the meaning of justify, like the bank robber who justifies his latest heist by claiming he needs the bank's money to support his charitable foundation. He might think he's got a good reason for holding up the bank, but he's going to have a hard time convincing the bank's owner of his reason, or justification. To justify a line of text is to space it so that it lines up with the margin.

Definitions of justify
  1. verb
    show to be right by providing justification or proof
    synonyms: vindicate
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    excuse, explain
    serve as a reason or cause or justification of
    show or affirm to be just and legitimate
    exonerate by means of an alibi
    type of:
    maintain, uphold
    support against an opponent
  2. verb
    show to be reasonable or provide adequate ground for
    “The end justifies the means”
    synonyms: warrant
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    type of:
    confirm, reassert
    strengthen or make more firm
  3. verb
    defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning
    synonyms: apologise, apologize, excuse, rationalise, rationalize
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    color, colour, gloss
    give a deceptive explanation or excuse for
    offer as an excuse or plea
    extenuate, mitigate, palliate
    lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of
    type of:
    defend, fend for, support
    argue or speak in defense of
  4. verb
    let off the hook
    synonyms: absolve, free
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    blame, fault
    put or pin the blame on
    excuse, exempt, let off, relieve
    grant exemption or release to
    wash one's hands
    to absolve oneself of responsibility or future blame
    exempt by means of an official pass or letter, as from customs or other checks
    type of:
    stop blaming or grant forgiveness
  5. verb
    adjust the spaces between words
    justify the margins”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    adjust, correct, set
    alter or regulate so as to achieve accuracy or conform to a standard
Word Family

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