a necessary evil


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

a necessary evil

something that you do not like but which you know must exist or happen He considers taxes a necessary evil.
See also: evil, necessary
References in classic literature ?
The smallness of the army renders the natural strength of the community an overmatch for it; and the citizens, not habituated to look up to the military power for protection, or to submit to its oppressions, neither love nor fear the soldiery; they view them with a spirit of jealous acquiescence in a necessary evil, and stand ready to resist a power which they suppose may be exerted to the prejudice of their rights.
you know a chaperone is a necessary evil," he objected.
This amorphous group of political and intellectual figures shares what Wills thinks to be the misguided belief that "government, as a necessary evil, should be kept at a minimum; and that legitimate social activity should be provincial, amateur, authentic, spontaneous, candid, homogenous, traditional, popular, rights-oriented, religious, voluntary, participatory, and rotational.
Unfortunately A Necessary Evil is shot through with major errors, especially a pair of key blunders that undermines its assault on free markets and limited government.
Although information security executives now regularly participate in strategic discussions with senior level management, many organizations still view information security as a necessary evil.