the end justifies the means

Definition of the end justifies the means

used to say that a desired result is so good or important that any method, even a morally bad one, may be used to achieve it
  • They believe that the end justifies the means and will do anything to get their candidate elected.

Word by Word Definitions

end play
  1. : the part of an area that lies at the boundary

  2. : a point that marks the extent of something

  3. : the point where something ceases to exist

  1. : to bring to an end

  2. : destroy

  3. : to make up the end of

  1. : final, ultimate

  1. : to put (grain or hay) into a barn or stack

  1. : within : inside — compare ect-, exo-

  2. : taking in

justify play justifies
  1. : to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable

  2. : to show to have had a sufficient legal reason

  3. : to qualify (oneself) as a surety (see surety 3) by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property

mean play means
  1. : to have in the mind as a purpose : intend

  2. : to design for or destine to a specified purpose or future

  3. : to serve or intend to convey, show, or indicate : signify

  1. : lacking distinction or eminence : humble

  2. : lacking in mental discrimination : dull

  3. : of poor, shabby, or inferior quality or status

  1. : occupying a middle position : intermediate in space, order, time, kind, or degree

  2. : occupying a position about midway between extremes

  3. : serving as a means : intermediary

  1. : something intervening or intermediate

  2. : a middle point between extremes

  3. : a value that lies within a range of values and is computed according to a prescribed law: such as


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up the end justifies the means? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to conform or adhere

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!