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necessary evil

Something bad that must exist or occur in order for something good to happen. These days, student loans are a necessary evil in order to get an education that leads to a well-paying job. Some view dictators as a necessary evil who keep the region stable by suppressing more radical elements.
See also: evil, necessary

deem it necessary

To determine that something is necessary. I didn't deem it necessary to give the boys detention because having their shirts untucked isn't a very serious infraction.
See also: necessary

deem it (to be) necessary

 and deem that it is necessary
to decide that something is necessary. Mary deemed that it was necessary to leave town that night. Lisa deemed it necessary to go home.
See also: necessary

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.

Prov. People need a deity to worship. (This is an English translation of a quote from Voltaire. It is often parodied, using a person's name instead of God and implying that the person is somehow necessary.) The atheist tried to convince Jerry that God does not exist, and that people should not waste their time worshiping Him. "But you can't stop people from worshiping God," Jerry replied. "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." The unscrupulous mayor was such a convenient scapegoat for the city's problems that if she had not existed, it would have been necessary to invent her.
See also: did, god, if, invent, necessary, not

a necessary evil

COMMON If you describe something as a necessary evil, you mean that although it is unpleasant, it is needed. He viewed war as a necessary evil. Managers sometimes think that training is a necessary evil that has to be done but is too expensive.
See also: evil, necessary

a necessary evil

something that is undesirable but must be accepted.
1997 Internet World Advertising may be a necessary evil. After all, someone has to support Internet ventures.
See also: evil, necessary

a ˌnecessary ˈevil

a thing that is unpleasant or even harmful, but which must be accepted because it brings some benefit: Injections against tropical illnesses are a necessary evil when you are planning to travel to that part of the world.I suppose all these security measures are a necessary evil.
See also: evil, necessary

the necessary

n. money; an income. (Also a really old term for a toilet or bathroom.) I can always use more of the necessary.
See also: necessary
References in classic literature ?
By courtesy of his creditors, there still remained in his possession a small remnant of his patrimony; and, upon the income arising from this, he managed, by means of a rigorous economy, to procure the necessaries of life, without troubling himself about its superfluities.
My dear Sir Thomas, with all my faults I have a warm heart; and, poor as I am, would rather deny myself the necessaries of life than do an ungenerous thing.
The first, as you said, contains two ladies with their femmes de chambre; the second contains the footmen, provisions, and necessaries.
His cavalcade consisted of eighty-two horses, most of them heavily laden with Indian goods, beaver traps, ammunition, Indian corn, corn meal and other necessaries.
The varieties in the fitting-up of the rooms, where the common necessaries provided by the owner, in the common indifferent plight, were contrasted with some few articles of a rare species of wood, excellently worked up, and with something curious and valuable from all the distant countries Captain Harville had visited, were more than amusing to Anne; connected as it all was with his profession, the fruit of its labours, the effect of its influence on his habits, the picture of repose and domestic happiness it presented, made it to her a something more, or less, than gratification.