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Related to justifying: proving, analyzing

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 ?
Moots (Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Northwood University, Midland, Michigan) and Philip Hamilton (Professor of history, Christopher Newport Universtiy, Newport News, Virginia), "Justifying Revolution: Law, Virtue, and Violence in the American War of Independence" is a collection of 13 seminal and erudite contributions by scholarly experts that is further enhanced for academia with the inclusion of an informative introduction, a listing of the contributors and their credentials, and a fourteen page index.
Thus, the action selected by a state under conditions of indeterminacy will be fully determined by justifying reasons.
If alternatives are incomparable with respect to the choice value, perhaps the fact that an alternative is not worse than the others can be a justifying ground.
Justifying Cindy's force and not justifying Joanne's force, solely on the basis of Cindy's quickness and superior hand speed, would constitute a reductio ad absurdum.
In this essay I have stressed the point that the respective ontologies of science and faith are driven by different strategies of justifying belief, and that these strategies, in turn, are driven by different fundamental concerns.
It is my intent in this paper to examine capital punishment (CP) as a paradigm example of violent action for which justifying arguments are provided.
Later, police obtained a search warrant and retrieved more evidence from the house.(49) The court held that the police acted properly, concluding that "the evidence establishe[d] the existence of an emergency justifying the warrantless entry and limited search of [the] residence."(50) The court noted that upon entry the officers did no more "than conduct a quite limited search of the premises to ascertain whether additional injured persons were present."(51) Significantly, given their other observations at the scene, the police were not bound by the woman's statements that there was no further problem, and it was permissible to search the location for additional victims over the woman's protest.
That is because the consent once removed doctrine is not based upon an emergency concern for the safety of the undercover officer or informant; rather, it is founded on the premise that the initial consent given by the suspect to an undercover officer or informant can be transferred to the arrest team, justifying their second entry.
The dissent noted that several other circuits had recognized that public safety is a consideration in determining what is a business necessity justifying a disparate impact.
In a concurring opinion, two of the justices noted that an anonymous tip with certain features or in certain situations may make it more reliable, justifying police action.
White make it clear that an anonymous tip that merely identifies a person, but does not show that the tipster has knowledge of concealed criminal activity is not sufficient to establish a reasonable suspicion justifying a stop and frisk.
Clearly, the majority decision rejected an absolute ban on the use of unexplained flight as a factor in justifying reasonable suspicion.
Occasionally, the signs are a pretense - set for the sole purpose of justifying the detention of drivers who take steps to avert the nonexistent roadblock.
As long as the official remains reasonably willing to publicly defend such a decision, the ethical issues justifying this type of deception are the same as those for more traditional forms of law enforcement deception.
When justifying a warrantless crime scene search on the emergency exception, law enforcement officers should be careful not to strain credibility by alleging unrealistic exigencies.