English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Usually, because links the premise and the conclusion. But there is one usage of the word I come across often, not in contemporary writings but older works.

These are of the form: "[subject did something] just because", where the the phrase "just because" is used to imply that the doer's actions were not guided by any purpose and the act was performed only for the sake of it, or on an impulse.

How can this usage of the word because be explained?

share|improve this question
You're asking about the phrase "just because", not simply using "because" at the end of a sentence. You should edit (the title, especially) to reflect this. (Unless you can find an example of 'because at the end' that is not a 'just because'. – hunter2 Jul 9 '13 at 11:21
I cannot see any valid reason to end a sentence with the word "because". – JeffSahol Jul 9 '13 at 12:21

How? Just because...

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I don't have an ANSWER, but I have a theory. I think the phrase is verbal shorthand, that has no proper literary form. What I mean: I believe the phrase may have come from people saying "because... because..." not having a reason, then "just because!"

share|improve this answer

The Urban Dictionary defines "just because" as meaning "because you could".

It's really just a 'circular' response:

I did it because I could do it (no other reason)
He did it because he could do it (no other reason)

share|improve this answer
That's an interesting definition - I always interpreted it as "because you wanted to". – Azula R. Jul 9 '13 at 16:25
@AzulaR. Yes, as you can see, I was just quoting what I found, but I agree with you that it can equally well mean "because I wanted to". In fact, Just because could mean whatever you want it to mean, just because! – TrevorD Jul 9 '13 at 18:31
that is delightful – Azula R. Jul 9 '13 at 20:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.