the end justifies the means

Cf. OVID Heroides ii. 85 exitus acta probat, the outcome justifies the deeds. The negative of this is also often asserted.

1583 G. BABINGTON Exposition of Commandments 260 The ende good, doeth not by and by make the meanes good.

1718 M. PRIOR Literary Works (1971) I. 186 The End must justify the Means: He only Sins who Ill intends.

1941 ‘H. BAILEY’ Smiling Corpse 238 ‘The police don’t like to have their bodies moved.’.. ‘In this case the end justifies the means.’

2001 Washington Times 2 Aug. A16 The conservatives’ war on drugs is an example of good intentions that have had unfortunate consequences. As often happens with noble causes, the end justifies the means, and the means of the drug war are inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution and our civil liberties.


Proverbs new dictionary.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • (the) end justifies the means — the end justifies the means phrase any methods, even bad ones, are allowed in order to achieve what you want, especially something good Thesaurus: describing or relating to ways of doing thingshyponym systems and methods for doing thingssynonym… …   Useful english dictionary

  • (the) end justifies the means. — something that you say which means that in order to achieve an important aim, it is acceptable to do something bad. Unfortunately, we ll have to cut down the forest to make space for the golf course, but I feel the end justifies the means …   New idioms dictionary

  • the end justifies the means — any method is fine if the result is good    If a person steals food to survive, does the end justify the means? …   English idioms

  • the end justifies the means — results give reason to the actions performed in the achieving of these results …   English contemporary dictionary

  • the end justifies the means — any methods, even bad ones, are allowed in order to achieve what you want, especially something good …   English dictionary

  • end justifies the means — See the end justifies the means …   English idioms

  • end justifies the means — actions or methods that are wrong from a moral point of view are at times necessary in order to obtain morally right results or effects …   English contemporary dictionary

  • The Church —     The Church     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Church     The term church (Anglo Saxon, cirice, circe; Modern German, Kirche; Sw., Kyrka) is the name employed in the Teutonic languages to render the Greek ekklesia (ecclesia), the term by which… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • end — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun 1 furthest part of sth ADJECTIVE ▪ bottom, lower ▪ top, upper ▪ back, hind (esp. AmE), rear …   Collocations dictionary

  • THE MIDDLE AGES — …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.