lesser evil

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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 evil (or the lesser of two evils)

the less harmful or unpleasant of two bad choices or possibilities.
See also: evil, lesser
References in periodicals archive ?
He ruled out abortion, saying: "Abortion is not a lesser evil.
The number of asylum seekers will reach 5 million in Turkey if Assad is viewed and praised as a lesser evil.
The Vatican yesterday said the condom was a lesser evil in such a case, signalling a seismic shift in papal teaching as it further explained the pope's comments.
The Vatican yesterday said the was condom a lesser evil in such a case, signalling a seismic shift in papal teaching as it further explained the Pope's comments.
However, the use of condoms to stop the deadly contact, in limited situations and emergencies, is judged by the Church as a lesser evil.
Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser evil to avoid a greater moral evil or in order to promote a greater moral good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it" (Humanae vitae, n.
Thomas at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, more than 40 years ago, I learned that traditional Catholic moral theology always taught that we could never choose to do evil, even a lesser evil.
Bush in some senses may be a lesser evil than the vice president.
Obrycki also questions the argument that Bt corn is a lesser evil than old pesticides.
Here we are again--stuck with trying to figure out what to do about another Presidential election, another choice of a lesser evil in which the adjective gets cloudier and cloudier while the noun gets clearer and clearer.
What I have said is: Some circles are giving the violent acts of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization as an excuse and are trying to show Assad as a lesser evil.
I would say, as I have just said now, you keep having to balance what is a lesser evil," the South African prelate told the BBC.
But in a book released on Tuesday, he said condom use by people such as male prostitutes was a lesser evil since it indicated they were taking a step toward a more moral and responsible sexuality.
Manning tells of indicating to an Ottawa reporter that destroying embryos to save lives is a lesser evil than destroying them for no purpose.