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Related to justifying: proving, analyzing

The end justifies the means.

Prov. You can use bad or immoral methods as long as you accomplish something good by using them. (Not everyone agrees with this idea.) Lucy got money for the orphanage by embezzling it from the firm where she worked. "The end justifies the means," she told herself. The politician clearly believed that the end justifies the means, since he used all kinds of nefarious means to get elected.
See also: end, justify, mean

justify something by something

to try to explain why something needs doing or why it is acceptable to do something. You cannot justify violence by quoting proverbs. Your action was totally justified by the circumstances.
See also: justify

justify something to someone

to explain something to someone and show why it is necessary. Please try to justify this to the voters. I can justify your action to no one.
See also: justify

The end justifies the means.

something that you say which means that in order to achieve an important aim, it is acceptable to do something bad Unfortunately, we'll have to cut down the forest to make space for the golf course, but I feel the end justifies the means.
See also: end, justify, mean

end justifies the means, the

A good outcome excuses any wrongs committed to attain it. For example, He's campaigning with illegal funds on the theory that if he wins the election the end will justify the means , or The officer tricked her into admitting her guilt-the end sometimes justifies the means. This proverbial (and controversial) observation dates from ancient times, but in English it was first recorded only in 1583.
See also: end, justify
References in periodicals archive ?
After all, how does a member of management or an insurance company internal auditor keep a person from justifying his or her own actions?
They are so used to justifying everything through personal use and personal choice, that perhaps they can see no other kind of good.
Professor Kent Greenawalt has provided, in Fletcher's terms, "the most sustained and sophisticated defense" of justifying the mistaken actor.
Even the most ardent spiritualists must be responsive to the material world on its own, empirical terms, with the result that they develop two very different epistemic strategies for justifying their beliefs.
Given that justifying arguments are designed to provide a justification for doing something that is considered to be prima facie wrong, it makes sense to suppose that belief in the success of these arguments (on the part of both the user of violence and others) may contribute to the actual practice of violence.
The Board of Information Technology Commissioners voted 5-0 in a special meeting to ask the City Council to order the action because of Adelphia's refusal to certify figures justifying the rate increase imposed nearly a year ago when the firm promised to pay the city $3 million in back fees.
Second, regardless of the standard courts use to assess police response to emergencies, no warrantless, nonconsensual, emergency entry will be approved unless officers can cite specific facts, combined with their training and experience, that led them to reasonably conclude that an emergency existed justifying their entry.
Recently, one person in authority in a Catholic hospital has quoted Article 2297 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as justifying sterilization for such conditions as heart disease and psycho-social reasons.
Those justifying the federal ban feared that if large amounts of fetal tissue were required for transplants, society may for the first time need and depend on the practice of elective abortion, rather than merely tolerate it.
That is because the consent once removed doctrine is not based upon an emergency concern for the safety of the undercover officer or informant; rather, it is founded on the premise that the initial consent given by the suspect to an undercover officer or informant can be transferred to the arrest team, justifying their second entry.
District officials also point to increases in alcohol and drug abuse among Santa Clarita Valley teens - statistics supported by community surveys and law enforcement agencies - when justifying the canine searches.
This financing will help us bring to market additional PPM software solutions to fulfill enterprise demands for justifying infrastructure investments based on hard data while obtaining more value from existing capacity.
The dissent noted that several other circuits had recognized that public safety is a consideration in determining what is a business necessity justifying a disparate impact.
The Conejo Valley school board will have to rescind its first hike of developer fees since 1988 until after it completes a study justifying the increase.