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In the US supreme court judges, among others, are called "justice [name]". Where is this use rooted?

Obviously the term comes from Latin "justitia" originally, but that means justice as in the the principle or system of justice. Where does the use as an honorary (?) title originate?

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Isn't it one of those old British way of giving out titles? like Knighthoods and others? Yes, it does come from the Latin "justitia" This is what the online oxford tells us about the origin: late Old English iustise 'administration of the law', via Old French from Latin justitia, from justus –  camelbrush Mar 13 '13 at 15:12
    
I think it's probably just shortened from Lord Justice of Appeal –  FumbleFingers Mar 13 '13 at 15:32
    
@FumbleFingers But the Hon Mr Justice Sweeney is a High Court judge or a Justice of the High Court, otherwise known as Sir Nigel Sweeney. Lord Justice of Appeal is a higher title. –  Andrew Leach Mar 13 '13 at 16:22
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

From its etymology:

mid-12c., "the exercise of authority in vindication of right by assigning reward or punishment;" also "quality of being fair and just," from Old French justice "justice, legal rights, jurisdiction" (11c.), from Latin iustitia "righteousness, equity," from iustus "upright, just" (see just (adj.)). The Old French word had widespread senses, including "uprightness, equity, vindication of right, court of justice, judge." The word began to be used in English c.1200 as a title for a judicial officer. Meaning "right order, equity" is late 14c. Justice of the peace first attested early 14c. In the Mercian hymns, Latin iustitia is glossed by Old English rehtwisnisse. To do justice to (someone or something) "render fully and fairly showing due appreciation" is from 1670s.

So its use to represent a judicial officer predates its more abstract use by a couple of centuries (which was also when the word just appears to have announced itself).

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Thanks for your answer. –  0xC0000022L Mar 14 '13 at 12:23
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