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the end justifies the means

A positive outcome justifies the unscrupulous methods one employs to reach it. I know you think that the end justifies the means, but stealing test answers to get better grades is just not a good idea.
See also: end, justify, mean

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.
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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

the end justifies the means

wrong or unfair methods may be used if the overall goal is good.
The Roman poet Ovid expresses this concept in Heroides as exitus acta probat meaning ‘the outcome justifies the actions’.
See also: end, justify, mean

the end justifies the ˈmeans

(saying) bad or unfair methods of doing something are acceptable if the result of that action is good or positive
See also: end, justify, mean
References in periodicals archive ?
An actual threat or actual force (from an objective view of the circumstances) would still be a necessary condition for an actor's force to be justified.
What the proponent of DA suggests is that the likely consequences of the first choice are better than the likely consequences of the second, and for this reason we are justified in choosing the first rather than the second, even though the first involves CP, which is an act of killing and which, in isolation, would be considered wrong.
The public is split (35% to 38%) on whether or not the Japanese and Germans would have been justified in using these techniques when interrogating American prisoners to save Japanese and German lives.
From a psychological point of view, then, Sutton defines a good inference as a constructive process in which the inferrer proceeds from a set of justified beliefs and comes to a new justified belief.
He said: "We've had our share of horses a bit below par in recent weeks, but Justified has been one of the lucky ones.
Being justified now by his blood, how much more shall we be saved through him from the wrath.
I maintain with the absolutists that there are justified uses of violence.
There might be situations (and even such strong pacifists as Gandhi and Martin Luther King believed this) when a small, focused act of violence against a monstrous, immediate evil would be justified.
ONLY half the public believes the bombing campaign against Afghanistan is justified, according to an opinion poll last night.
If such acts are justified, then I would suggest that there is no hope for any of us, because such justification will only create a vendetta of worldwide proportions.
Teschke points Out that the extent of the Nazi atrocities justified the Nuremberg proceedings and somehow continues to justify current UN tribunals.
Was the maternal instinct and French blood of these women strong enough to bear and raise these children or was abortion justified in these cases?
The supply is market justified - whether it's economically justified depends on the cost.
The TBOR2 established a rebuttable presumption that the IRS's position was not substantially justified if it did not follow its applicable published guidance in the proceeding.