justify(redirected from justifies)
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justify (something) by (doing something)
To attempt to prove that something is just, right, or valid by saying, asking, or explaining something. In passive constructions, a noun or pronoun is used instead of a gerund. When I confronted him about transferring the money into his personal bank account, he justified it by saying that the company would be able to dodge a lot of taxes that way. She justified her actions by explaining that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. I know my policies have been controversial, but they have been justified by their results!
justify (something) to (one)
To attempt to prove that something is just, right, or valid to one. You really don't need to justify your decision to me. You're an adult, so you can do as you like. She is being asked to justify her actions to the board of directors.
See also: justify
the end justifies the means
A positive outcome justifies the methods one employs to reach it, even if they are unethical. I know you think that the end justifies the means, but stealing to feed the poor is still stealing.
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.
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.
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
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.
the end justifies the meanswrong 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’.