a choice of two evils

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a choice of two evils

A choice between two options or alternatives that are both unpleasant or undesirable. We were left with a choice of two evils. We could either sell the business that had been in our family for generations, or else risk plunging our family into bankruptcy. Polls show that the voters view the candidates as a choice of two evils.
See also: choice, evil, of, two
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

choice between (of) two evils, a

Two unpleasant alternatives. The full expression, “choose the lesser of two evils,” was already a proverb listed by John Heywood in 1546 and dates, in slightly different form, from Plato’s and Aristotle’s times. “Of harmes two, the lesse is for to chese,” wrote Chaucer in Troilus and Criseyde. Since it is not always possible to decide between two such alternatives, C. H. Spurgeon may offer the best advice: “Of two evils, choose neither” (John Ploughman’s Talk, 1880).
See also: between, choice, two
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer