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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 ?
Less discussed is how the media's treatment of black Africa as, still, a "dark continent" where nothing happens except coups, massacres, famines, disease, and drought justifies racist foreign and domestic policies.
36] The administrator who uses different physical selection standards for female applicants would, therefore, have to show what business necessity justifies such a practice.
Specifically, the Court ruled on 1) whether a law enforcement officer conducts a Fourth Amendment search when physically manipulating a bus passenger's carry-on luggage; 2) whether a law enforcement officer's initial stop is supported by reasonable suspicion when the suspect is both present in an area of expected criminal activity and flees upon seeing the police; 3) whether an anonymous tip that a person is carrying a gun, without more information, justifies a police officer's stop and frisk of that person; and 4) whether the Miranda rule is a constitutionally based rule.
Estimates are that Fox will take in as much as $180 million in Super Bowl ad revenue from all day Sunday, which justifies all the programming from a business standpoint.
asked Fox network president David Hill, not trying to sound hypersensitive when asked this week if the endless amount of puffery justifies the means.
Is there a rational basis for the still widely held prejudice against homosexuality, a basis which justifies discriminatory public policies?
Is there some objective harm that does not attach to heterosexual sodomy which justifies banning or suppressing homosexual relations?
Behavior that has caused, or imminently threatens to cause, death or great bodily harm to an officer or other individuals justifies the use of deadly force by an officer.
Brad's character really believes that the end justifies the means, that justice for his people justifies more killing.
Harrison's character, this New York cop, has seen so much violence, and he's so disgusted with it that he doesn't feel anything justifies this kind of behavior.
However, a reasonable suspicion, also based upon articulable facts and circumstances, that the detainee is armed justifies a frisk of the detainee's outer clothing for weapons.
I]f probable cause justifies the search of a lawfully stopped vehicle, it justifies the search of every part of the vehicle and its contents that may conceal the object of the search.
Virtually every crime will constitute an emergency that justifies law enforcement's warrantless entry to the scene.