end justifies the means, the

Idioms & Phrases

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 guiltthe end sometimes justifies the means. This proverbial (and controversial) observation dates from ancient times, but in English it was first recorded only in 1583.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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