the lesser of two evils


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the lesser of two evils

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: evil, lesser, of, two

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 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 ?
Because the minute state licensing and regulation become too onerous, federal licensing--even with federal regulation--could be seen as the lesser of two evils.
As long as all you have to vote for is the lesser of two evils (and you're not even sure which one that is), why bother?
Andrew Faulkner, of Lillington Road, who opposed the first blueprint, said the second plan was the lesser of two evils.
Campbell may have derived his misconceptions), "Which is the lesser of two evils - to destroy embryos for no purpose whatever, or to destroy them in the process of trying to save other lives?
Reed's "For Ralph, Without Illusions" is a bit better than Molly Ivins's confession a month earlier that she voted many times for a Texas scumbag because he was the lesser of two evils.
I would guess that few voters base their decisions on professional standards alone and - as I did - they probably feel they are just choosing the lesser of two evils.
But Dominique Strauss-Kahn argued that more Government borrowing was the lesser of two evils during the economic downturn.
But if you can't, then you go for the lesser of two evils and ignore his girlfriends.
I WAS interested in the recent political letters under the headline Labour The Lesser Of Two Evils (09.
Many people vote Labour as simply the lesser of two evils.
The provision of contraception for our youngsters - coupled with frank and honest sex education - is the lesser of two evils.
Therefore, while some taxpayers may not want to come forward and make a change in their LIFO calculation method that is unpalatable, others may view the risk of an IRS audit-imposed change (that could effectively include substantial give-backs of their prior years' LIFO tax benefits) as the lesser of two evils.
Now the best we can hope for is the lesser of two evils.
People are stuck voting for the lesser of two evils between John McCain and Barack Obama.
If people are faced with a choice between Lebanon limping along, or seeing a total collapse of national decision-making institutions, then extending Parliament's mandate is the lesser of two evils.