choice between (of) two evils, a

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