I understand in some contexts they cannot be interchanged, for example, one can say 'the price is reasonable', but 'the price is justified' sounds incorrect.

But I don't know what are the exact differences between them when expressing 'something is reasonable or proved to be reasonable". To me, they seems to be interchangeable in most situations.

In addition, I learned that 'warranted' in some context also means 'reasonable', for example, you experienced a degraded service and then requested a refund, you can say "I feel a refund would be warranted". Can I use 'reasonable' instead here? Is there any slight difference that makes 'warranted' better?

  • A price doesn't require justification unless it's a matter of moral versus immoral. For example, some people would argue that overcharging for vaccines is immoral.
    – user230
    Feb 23, 2013 at 12:49
  • @snailplane: From a consumer standpoint, I think you're largely right. In other contexts, such as government, or business meetings, one might see justify being used now and then.
    – J.R.
    Feb 23, 2013 at 12:58
  • you had request to someone, and you talked a lot to explain the reasons. finally you said "so I feel my request is totally reasonable/justified'. Which one is better? Any difference?
    – user37617
    Feb 23, 2013 at 13:05
  • I think this is Not Constructive. Any dictionary will make clear the core meanings of reason and justice. The distinction between rationality/rationale and morality isn't something we need to be discussing here, particularly in respect of prices. Feb 23, 2013 at 13:11
  • I think this is NARQ because it's difficult to tell what is being asked here. Voting to close.
    – user114
    Feb 23, 2013 at 18:36

3 Answers 3


Reasonable means that whatever decision was made is appropriate given the particular circumstances, and most would regard it as so.

Justified means that whatever decision was made is done for a good reason, in the interest of fairness.

There are times the words could be used interchangeably, and contexts where the difference is subtle. It all depends on the nature of the request or issue at hand.

I might use "justified" if I was angry about something, and was acting in response:

Was it polite to skip their wedding after they insulted me like that? No, but I think my decision was justified.

I might use "reasonable" if I think everyone would agree that there was nothing else that could be done:

Was I happy about missing their wedding so that I could go to my mother's funeral? No, but I think my decision was reasonable.

But there are contexts where either word will work just fine:

You said that you'd deliver the cake before noon, but it didn't get here until 3 o'clock. I think my request for a refund is reasonable/justified.

In that sentence, reasonable would work because most people would agree that a refund would be appropriate given the circumstances, and justified would work because the request is fair.

  • 1
    Yes, Reasonable is like "makes sense", Justified is more like "morally right".
    – MGOwen
    May 21, 2014 at 3:33

When speaking about prices, reasonable generally means "not too expensive"; justified would mean "made for a good, or legitimate reason."

A price could be unreasonable, but justified. For example, if somebody sells something that he buys from somebody else, his high price could be legitimated from the fact his sunk costs are already high.


Reasonableness may be to some extent compromised with attendant circumstances and conditions. But if something is compromised wth attendant circumstance and condition it cannot be justified.

While all that are justified may be reasonable but all that are reasonable may not be justified

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