an end in itself

noun phrase

: something that one does because one wants to and not because it will help achieve or accomplish something else
She started exercising for her health, but she enjoyed it so much that exercising became an end in itself.
For him, taking classes was an end in itself.

Examples of an end in itself in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Duke viewed money as a marker of status more than an end in itself. Larry Tye, Fortune, 4 May 2024 War has become an end in itself, rather than a means to achieve a better political reality. Ami Ayalon, Foreign Affairs, 11 Apr. 2024 For Netanyahu, however, remaining in power was an end in itself, one more important than preserving Israel’s most crucial institutions, to say nothing of Israelis’ trust in them. Anshel Pfeffer, The Atlantic, 27 Mar. 2024 What a pragmatist achieves should never be an end in itself, James insisted, but rather an inspiration for more work. Mark Edmundson, Harper's Magazine, 12 Dec. 2022 Much of this investment was aimed not at achieving technological leadership as an end in itself but at using wireless to send news from Germany to as many people around the world as possible. Heidi Tworek, Foreign Affairs, 25 Apr. 2019 Science’s quest for knowledge about reality presupposes the importance of truth, both as an end in itself and as a means of resolving problems. Kathleen Higgins, Scientific American, 5 Dec. 2016 Enforcement is never an end in itself. Tax Notes Staff, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'an end in itself.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near an end in itself

Cite this Entry

“An end in itself.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

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