Word Origins

The notion of ‘bringing in close proximity’ is present in adjust. The source was the obsolete French verb adjuster, from Old French ajoster ‘to approximate’, based on Latin ad– ‘to’ and juxta ‘near’, source of words such as joust (Middle English) originally to ‘bring near to join battle’ and juxtapose (mid 19th century) ‘place near’.
Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins
Don‘t assume that adjust is formed by adding the prefix ad– to the word just; these two words should come from different roots, though, according to some sources, adjust might be influenced in form and sense by folk-etymology, as if from ad– + iustus ‘just, equitable, fair‘.


Early 17th century (in the senses ‘harmonize discrepancies’ and ‘assess loss or damages’): from obsolete French adjuster, from Old French ajoster ‘to approximate’, based on Latin ad- ‘to’ + juxta ‘near’.


Late Middle English justle, from just, an earlier form of joust. The original sense was ‘have sexual intercourse with’; current senses date from the mid 16th century.


Middle English (originally in the sense ‘join battle, engage’): from Old French jouster ‘bring together’, based on Latin juxta ‘near’.


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin justus, from jus ‘law, right’.

Adjust ultimately comes from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning ‘to join‘, also the ultimate source of join, junction, yoga, and more.

Origin and meaning of adjust

Word Formation Resource

4 Points

adjustable,  adjustment,  maladjusted,  maladjustment,  readjust,  readjustment,  unadjusted,  well-adjusted

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