What’s the meaning of “Il fine giustifica i mezzi”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian proverb Il fine giustifica i mezzi along with its pronunciation. Do you need an excuse for doing something that other people might consider unethical? Then this idiom is for you!

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!


Il fine giustifica i mezzi

Meaning of the proverb

Il fine giustifica i mezzi can be literally translated as “the goal justifies the means”, meaning that what really counts is the end and you shouldn’t worry about what you have to do to get there, especially if your goal is a good one. It is obviously a translation of the English proverb the end justifies the means.

Linguistically speaking, this proverb is pretty simple:

  • il fine (the goal)
  • giustifica (justifies, from giustificare)
  • i mezzi (the means)
two people holding a "GOAL" banner

Non tutti prendono decisioni in base alla morale. Il fine giustifica i mezzi.
Not everyone makes decisions based on morality. The end justifies the means.


Pronunciation of the proverb

Now let’s hear how this proverb is pronounced.

Il fine giustifica i mezzi.
The end justifies the means.
Literally: The goal justifies the means.

You may have trouble pronouncing the geminate cluster -zz- in mezzi. If you need help with Italian pronunciation, check out the lesson on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation.


Where does Il fine giustifica i mezzi come from?

It is thought that this proverb comes from the work The Prince (Il principe) by the Italian writer Niccolò Machiavelli‘s, who said:

“Faccia adunque un principe conto di vincere e mantenere lo stato; i mezzi saranno sempre giudicati onorevoli e da ciascuno lodati.”

From “The Prince” by Machiavelli
a prince on a white horse

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian proverb Il fine giustifica i mezzi!


What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Il fine giustifica i mezzi is in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.
Italian All-in-One For Dummies appeals to those readers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide to mastering the Italian language. It contains content from all For Dummies Italian language instruction titles, including Italian For Dummies, Intermediate Italian For Dummies, Italian Verbs For Dummies, Italian Phrases For Dummies, Italian Grammar For Dummies, and Italian For Dummies Audio Set.

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