necessary evil


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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
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.
Hawkins as anything but a necessary evil; but life resumed its even tenor on the King farm, broken only by the ripples of excitement over the school concert and letters from Aunt Olivia describing her trip through the land of Evangeline.
Considered by some to be the best evidence of"the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man", it is nonetheless a necessary evil when it comes to getting round the city of London.
As taxation is a necessary evil, it might as well be levied in areas where it might do some good.
Simon Ellin of the Recycling Association said the UK burning its own plastic waste "might be the necessary evil in the short term".
IT is regrettable, yet a necessary evil, that the Metro extension work has to be carried out in the city centre.
While the high cost of compressed air was once seen as a necessary evil, a growing focus on operating cost reduction, along with increasingly demanding sustainability goals, is now bringing the issue of energy efficiency into sharp focus.
The three books are: Sally for her debut The Sealwoman's Gift, Maggie O'Farrell's I Am, I Am, I Am and Abir Mukherjee's Necessary Evil.
Tom Knickerbocker, Executive Vice President of Ameritech Financial, said, "Student loans might be a necessary evil, but they don't have to prevent borrowers from feeling the benefits of their income.
A carefully crafted and inherently riveting read from beginning to end, "A Necessary Evil" clearly showcases author Abir Mukherjee's master of the mystery genre with a novel that is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.
As a Certified B-Corp, where underwriting profits go to nonprofits, Lemonade is remaking insurance as a social good, rather than a necessary evil. Lemonade is currently available in eight US states.
Is tax really a 'necessary evil' that we all have to deal with?
AMY BOWERS .CONSULTANT.: I think speeding fines are a necessary evil, if you don't speed and abide the law then you will not be affected.
Our experts concluded that though the dance world often bemoans the emphasis on extreme technique, in many cases tricks are a necessary evil. Readers weighed in:
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