How Adjudge Works

Adjudge is a formal way to state that you or someone else has ruled something true, false, etc. In a legal sense, when you adjudge something, you are awarding something legally to somebody else, as is the case when the court awards legal damages to the victim of an accident. You can also use adjudge when you are ruling that someone must pay a penalty fee.

Example of Adjudge

Jason has been parking in a handicapped parking spot illegally at his workplace for months now. Last month, parking authorities caught on and issued Jason his first fine of $150. He did not pay this fine and decided to keep parking in the handicapped spot. Authorities ticketed his car once again, but this time the fine was $250. Instead of paying the fines and correcting his parking behavior, Jason passive-aggressively parked a third time in the handicap spot with a rude note on his dashboard to parking enforcement.

Much to his surprise, when he got out of work, his car was missing. Because this was Jason’s third violation, parking enforcement had his car towed and impounded, and he had to pay another $250. For Jason to get his car back, he needs to pay the $650 he owes in parking fines. He doesn’t want to pay and so goes to court to appeal his fines. The judge adjudges him to pay the fines in full before he can get his car back.

Significance of Adjudge

If you’re in court and see or hear the term, it should alert you that the case resolved in a payment of some kind, either as an award or a fine. The word also tells you that whatever decision someone made was based on judgment—looking over the evidence, policy, hearing both sides, etc.—as opposed to a gut reaction decision. This can be problematic, however, as not all bases of judgment are correct.

Another significant issue with the term is that, as odd as this may read, it sounds good. Just because you see a “fancy” term for “to rule as a judge” doesn’t mean the judgment is valid. Therefore, it is important as a layperson to be wary of companies who claim that a review organization adjudged them the Best in Tech 2020, for instance. You should also be mindful of incorrect usage of the term adjudge. If a person says, “I adjudge myself to be the best CEO on the planet!” there is no way they could properly “adjudge” this. Adjudge implies that someone has sat on a hearing or looked through evidence. Most likely, this person is participating in hyperbole, not truth.

Adjudge vs. Judge

When you adjudge, you are declaring a judgment. Legally, it refers to specific rulings. When you judge, you take in all the evidence and then decide what the evidence tells you is correct. It applies to all situations. Though you can use adjudge and judge interchangeably and get away with it, adjudge is most often used in a court setting. You can use judge informally.

Adjudge vs. Declare

When you declare something, you are making something clear by explanation; you are making something known. Adjudge involves judgment, whereas declaring something involved no judgment at all. You can, however, declare a ruling which means, delightfully so, adjudge.