Meaning of JUST in English


I. just 1 S1 W1 /dʒəst; strong dʒʌst/ BrE AmE adverb

1 . exactly:

A good strong cup of coffee is just what I need right now.

The house was large and roomy; just right for us.

She looks just like her mother.

Just what do you think you’re trying to do?

just on British English :

It’s just on three o'clock.

Just then (=exactly at that moment) , Mrs Robovitch appeared at the bedroom door.

Just as (=at the exact moment when) I opened the door, the telephone started to ring.

A nice hot bath – just the thing (=exactly the right thing) to relax sore muscles.

2 . nothing more than the thing, amount, action etc that you are mentioning SYN only :

It’s nothing serious – just a small cut.

Don’t be too hard on him – he’s just a kid.

Can you wait just a few minutes?

It’s not just me – there are other people involved as well.


In written English, people often prefer to use simply rather than just , which sounds rather informal:

It’s simply a question of priorities.

3 . only a short time ago:

John’s just told me that he’s getting married.

I’ve just been out shopping.

4 . at this moment or at that moment:

Wait a minute – I’m just coming.

He was just leaving when the phone rang.

I’m just finishing my homework – it won’t take long.

The concert was just about to start.

5 . used to emphasize what you are saying:

It just isn’t true.

I just love being in the mountains.

It was just wonderful to see Joyce again.

I just wish I could believe you.

6 . only by a small amount, time, distance etc

just before/after/over etc

We moved here just after our son was born.

I saw her just before she died.

It’s just under three centimetres long.

7 . used to show that something which happens almost does not happen SYN barely , hardly :

He just managed to get home before dark.

We could just see the coast of France in the distance.

Those pants only just fit you now.

She was earning just enough money to live on (=enough but not more than enough) .

8 . just about almost:

The plums are just about ripe now.

Just about everybody will be affected by the tax increases.

9 . just as good/bad/big etc equally as good, bad, big etc:

Brad is just as good as the others.

I love this country just as much as you do.

10 . just have to do something used to say that someone has to do something because nothing else is possible:

We’ll just have to watch and see what happens.

You just have to accept things and get on with your life.

11 . not just any used to emphasize that you are talking about a particular thing or person that is especially good or important:

For the best results, use olive oil. Not just any olive oil, mind – only the finest quality will do.

12 . would just as soon if you would just as soon do something, you would prefer to do it:

I’d just as soon stay at home – I don’t really enjoy parties.

13 . may just/might just might possibly:

You could try Renee. She might just know where they live now.

It may just have been a coincidence.

14 . not just yet not now, but probably soon:

I can’t leave just yet. I’ve still got a couple of letters to write.

15 . just because ... it doesn’t mean used to say that, although one thing is true, another thing is not necessarily true:

Just because you’re older than me, it doesn’t mean you can tell me what to do.

• • •


16 . just a minute/second/moment

a) used to ask someone to wait for a short time while you do something:

Just a minute, I’ll see if I can find it for you.

b) used to interrupt someone in order to ask them something, disagree with them etc:

Just a minute! How do I know you’re not telling me a pack of lies?

17 .

a) used when politely asking something or telling someone to do something:

Could I just say a few words before we start?

Would you just explain to us how the system works.

b) used when firmly telling someone to do something:

Look, just shut up for a minute!

Now, just listen to what I’m telling you.

18 . it’s just that used when explaining the reason for something, especially when someone thinks there is a different reason:

No, I do like Chinese food. It’s just that I’m not hungry.

19 . just now

a) a very short time ago:

Where have my glasses gone? I had them just now.

b) especially British English at this moment:

We’re busy just now – can you come back later?

20 . just think/imagine/look used to tell someone to imagine or look at the same thing that you are imagining or looking at:

Just think – in a week we’ll be lying on a beach in the sun!

21 . it’s/that’s just as well used to say that it is fortunate that something is true or happened because otherwise there would be problems:

It’s just as well we’d prepared everything beforehand.

22 . isn’t she just/aren’t they just etc old-fashioned used to strongly agree with something someone has said about a person or thing:

‘He’s a selfish, rude, ignorant man!’ ‘Isn’t he just!’

23 . just so

a) with everything arranged neatly and tidily:

Her house always has to be just so.

b) old-fashioned used to say yes or agree with something:

‘You should have beaten them, shouldn’t you?’ ‘Just so.’

⇨ just the same at ↑ same 2 (3), ⇨ just in case at ↑ case 1 (7), ⇨ just my luck at ↑ luck 1 (12), ⇨ might just as well at ↑ might 1 (9)

II. just 2 /dʒʌst/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: French ; Origin: juste , from Latin justus , from jus 'right, law' ]

1 . morally right and fair:

Henry sincerely believed that he was fighting a just war.

a just settlement

Charlemagne was respected as a just ruler.

2 . deserved by someone:

a just reward for their loyal service

What would be a just punishment for such a crime?

I hope that he’s caught and gets his just deserts (=is punished in the way he deserves) .

—justly adverb :

These men are criminals, but they must be dealt with justly.

an achievement of which we can be justly proud

• • •


▪ fair treating people equally or in the way that is right:

It’s not fair that she gets paid more than me.


Everyone has the right to a fair trial.

▪ just formal morally right and fair:

a just punishment


a just cause


a just society


Do you think it was a just war?

▪ reasonable fair and sensible according to most people’s standards:

a reasonable request


Lateness, without a reasonable excuse, will not be tolerated.

▪ balanced giving fair and equal treatment to all sides of an argument or subject:

Balanced reporting of the news is essential.

▪ even-handed giving fair and equal treatment to everyone, especially when it would be easy to favour one particular group:

The drama takes an even-handed look at the consequences of violent crime, both on attackers and their victims.


The film is even-handed and does not try to make you support either side.

▪ equitable /ˈekwətəb ə l, ˈekwɪtəb ə l/ formal giving equal treatment to everyone involved:

We need an equitable solution to this problem.


a more equitable distribution of wealth

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.