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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.
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.
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 ?
Rather, what matters is both what it is possible to accomplish 'when we try to justify our moral beliefs', and 'which debates in epistemology make sense' (251; cf.
The church ends up twisting its own Scriptures and theological tradition to justify and encourage enthusiastic participation in the state's wars, social policies, morality and economic system.
The longstanding federal exemption for peyote rituals, which applies to hundreds of thousands of people, made it even harder for the government to justify refusing an exemption for UDV, which has only 130 or so American members.
It was out of the Bible" Spong continues, "that pious and devout people drew the definitions they sought to impose on powerless people and to justify the oppression that these powerful religious voices seemed eager to impose.
These tools may justify further governmental intrusions, including intrusions into personal privacy, when the officer's initial response reveals additional information.
In scripture God commands the Hebrews to annihilate the Amalekites (1 Samuel) and Canaanites (Joshua) inhabiting the Promised Land, and later generations of Jews saw this "ban" as justifying the Maccabean revolt and the "zealot" rebellions of Jesus' day, while Christians have used these texts to justify the Crusades, the wars of religion after the Reformation, and the colonial slaughter of indigenous peoples.
But does making Iraq a democracy, although a laudable goal, justify killing thousands of Iraqis and getting a lot of our soldiers killed and wounded?
Justify (dikaioo) is translated "put into a right relationship," "acquit," and "declare and treat as righteous.
History is replete with examples of governments using agents provocateurs to justify eliminating the opposition and assuming dictatorial powers.
JOHN'S, NL -- The Supreme Court of Newfound and Labrador backed the provincial government in using a financial crisis to justify putting off pay equity payments to female health-care workers, even though the move violated their equality rights.
And when asked to provide a full accounting to justify the need for a hike, DWP officials gave few details, clearly expecting the usual rubber stamp from the City Council.
In the final section, on the Civil War years, the writings of Nathaniel Dawson and Theodorick Montfort open up ways in which men used the joinery between love and ambition, at first, to justify the risk and destruction of the conflict, and then, later, to explain why love justified abandoning the war effort.
Anderson employs to justify his assertion that insurance is a disease.
As the prospects of finding weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq fade, the United States and Britain cannot justify their military intervention in Iraq on humanitarian grounds, nongovernmental Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Monday at the launch of its World Report 2004.
The Tax Court held, as a matter of law, that marketability restrictions, per se, did not justify departure from tabular valuation; see Est.