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choose the lesser of two evils

To pick the less offensive of two undesirable options. I wasn't excited about going to a seminar all weekend, but I also didn't want to lose my license, so I chose the lesser of two evils and spent the weekend learning about new regulations in our field. Do you really want to get a demerit for not having your blazer? Just choose the lesser of two evils and tell the teacher you forgot it—maybe she'll take pity on you!
See also: choose, evil, lesser, of, two

lesser evil

The less offensive of two undesirable options. Both options are unpalatable, but the lesser evil, in this case, is selling the house. Polls show that the candidate is not well-liked, but is viewed as the lesser evil.
See also: evil, lesser

the lesser of two evils

The less offensive of two undesirable options. Both options are unpalatable, but the lesser of two evils, in this case, is selling the house. Polls show that the candidate is not well-liked, but is viewed as the lesser of two evils.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two

lesser (of the two)

the smaller one (of two); the one having the lesser amount. The last two pieces of pie were not quite the same size, and I chose the lesser of the two. Faced with a basket containing too much and one with too little, Tom chose the lesser.

lesser of two evils

the less bad thing of a pair of bad things. I didn't like either politician, so I voted for the lesser of two evils. Given the options of going out with someone I don't like and staying home and watching a boring television program, I chose the lesser of the two evils and watched television.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two

lesser of two evils

The somewhat less unpleasant of two poor choices. For example, I'd rather stay home and miss the picnic altogether than run into those nasty people-it's the lesser of two evils . This expression was already a proverb in ancient Greek and appeared in English by the late 1300s. Chaucer used it in Troilus and Cressida.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two

the lesser of two evils

or

the lesser evil

COMMON If you have to choose between two bad things, you can call the one which is less bad the lesser of two evils or the lesser evil. Should she choose life on the streets or the bad marriage? In the end it seemed the street was the lesser of two evils. In a continent where economic successes are rare, this sort of regime may seem a lesser evil than abject poverty.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two

the lesser evil (or the lesser of two evils)

the less harmful or unpleasant of two bad choices or possibilities.
See also: evil, lesser

the ˌlesser of two ˈevils

,

the ˌlesser ˈevil

the less unpleasant of two unpleasant choices: Neither candidate seemed capable of governing the country. People voted for him as the lesser of two evils.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two
References in periodicals archive ?
The due process concerns that are inherent in lesser included offenses typically arise when there is a lack of evidence in support of the offense charged.
Lesser confirmed that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar made up the bulk of BCG's business in the Middle East.
Mandible analysis of turkey and lesser yellow-headed vultures concluded there was no difference in variance between turkey vultures and lesser yellow-headed vultures in bill height (n=24, f=0.
The second chapter takes up the well-known anatomical pun on "country matters," which Lesser persuasively argues is an artifact of editorial glossing.
Farooque, "Acute femoral artery pseudoaneurysm due to lesser trochanter fragment: an unusual complication of an intertrochanteric fracture," Chinese Journal of Traumatology, vol.
41) There must be a sufficient basis in the evidence in order to trigger the statute governing when a trial court is required to grant a jury instruction for a lesser included offense.
Lesser argues that both theories emerged as a response to the discovery of Q1, and both (whatever their rhetoric) depended on romantic biographical assumptions.
Our lesser self know the political gimmicks they play on us, in short our lesser self enjoys the blame game.
Results show the prevalence of bunions, lesser toe deformities and plantar soft tissue atrophy was 31 percent, 30 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
When approached to write about a favourite object from Welsh history for this series, there was no hesitation in my choosing the Lesser Garth Terret.
Elected to the roles in May 2012, Lesser takes the helm as BCG embarks on its fiftieth year of operation.
The zoo's three lesser sirens, Splish, Splash and Falcor, are held in the education block's Discovery Centre.
More than 15 attorneys and staff from Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC (LLL&S) left their suits and legal briefs behind and opted to don their LLL&S t-shirts and shorts and head to SunFest to literally “play it forward” and volunteer their time to help make great SunFest memories for a special group of youngsters.
Silber is a lawyer; Lesser is in law school, before which he worked in the Obama administration as a personal assistant to President Obama's political guru, David Axelrod.
Several lines of evidence indicate that the stratigraphically lower part of the Lesser Himalayan series in Nepal, the Nawakot unit, reached peak metamorphic conditions prior to the Cenozoic:(1) We used a three point Sm/Nd isochron to date crystallization of a single garnet from the Benighat Formation in the uppermost Lesser Himalayan thrust sheet exposed in the Modi river valley of central Nepal.