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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!
See also: by, justify

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.
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: by, 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 ?
It seems plausible to suppose, as opponents of the conventional wisdom seem to, that what justifies choice is what determines that choice as justified.
"Because I am able to satisfy my thirst for death-defying thrills" justifies choosing a career in competitive skydiving over one in accounting if what matters is satisfying that thirst, but it may not justify the choice if what matters is achieving financial security.
It is optimizing: What justifies choosing one alternative over another is the fact that the chosen alternative is at least as good as the others with respect to the choice value.
But the attack is misguided; optimizers, whether or not maximizers, need not hold that what justifies choice is the fact that the chosen alternative bears or brings about the greatest quantity of some value.
Like its comparativist counterpart, direct noncomparativism accepts the natural assumption: Whatever justifies choice determines that choice as justified.
justifies my doing what is nonmaximizing is how doing that fits into my
That my current life bears this concrete goodness is a ground that justifies my choosing my current life over one that I recognize is better.
And in this case, What justifies choice is not the fact that the chosen alternative meets the standard, but the fact that it meets the standard better than any of the other alternatives.
A ground's justifying force is that in virtue of which the ground justifies. Indirect comparativism claims that it is not the justifying ground but the justifying force of a justifying ground that determines justified choice, and that the justifying force of any justifying ground is a comparative fact about the alternatives with respect to the choice value.
What justifies the inference q from the premises of p and if p then q?
That I promised to show her a good time justifies my going out to dinner--it silences the demand for justification when what matters in the choice is fulfilling my promise to show her a good time.
Similarly, that I have an obligation to my parents justifies my choosing to live near them if the only other option is to move far away, but not if the home off ice can be converted into a spare bedroom.
[26] The law is clear that the reasonable suspicion of criminal activity that justifies a temporary detention does not, by itself, also justify a frisk for weapons.