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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: justify
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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 American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
The goal was for Justify to run in a major race this summer, likely the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, and be pointed toward the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov.
Justify is trained by Bob Baffert, who also trains Restoring Hope, although the two horses have different ownership.
Baffert said Justify was simply the best horse at the track on Saturday.
Justify led all the way in achieving one of the sports world's
Justify's jockey, Mike Smith, has called Belmont one of his favorite tracks and is confident that Justify will come out on top.
If Justify wins today, his worth at stud is likely to be in the same region as 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, whose stud fee started at a cool $200,000.
Under evergreen 52-year-old jockey Mike Smith, Justify chased fractions of 22.24 seconds for the first two furlongs and 45.77s to the next two, before completing six in 1.11.01.
For example, a high street fashion store that wishes to employ younger staff in order to reflect their brand image will not be able to objectively justify this because it is not a valid aim.
"...we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel's abuse of our history in these pages to justify the unjustifiable: Israel's wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children.
<p align="justify">MUSCAT: </strong></font><font face="Sentinel" size="1">In about 10 years from now Muscat and its neighbourhood will be a perfect city of the future.
One look at the arguments put both by the Royal and Alder Hey shows that they were skewed to justify re-build rather than utilise existing buildings.
Sosa argues that, if we claim that the very fact that 0 < 1 is what justifies my belief that 0 < 1, then we will have to explain why that fact justifies my belief in it, whereas the fact (supposing it is a fact) that the axiom of choice is true does not justify my belief in it.
Byline: More than 300 MPs could be asked either to repay money or provide further information to justify their expenses claims.
His remarks, in an end-ofyear address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration, have prompted claims his speech could be used to justify homophobic attacks.
The second part is devoted to analyzing four ethical theories purporting to justify moral beliefs --naturalism (Chapter 7), normativism (Chapter 8), intuitionism (Chapter 9), and coherentism (Chapter 10)--as well as their responses to moral nihilism.