lesser of two evils


Also found in: Acronyms.

the lesser of two evils

The less offensive of two undesirable options. Both options are unpalatable, but the lesser of two evils, in this case, is selling the house. Polls show that the candidate is not well-liked, but is viewed as the lesser of two evils.
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

lesser of two evils

See choice between two evils.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two
References in periodicals archive ?
The party elites shouldn't expect to be exonerated for second-rate judgment by getting Sanders supporters to violate their moral principles and vote for the lesser of two evils.
Graham argued that President Barack Obama won more than 70 percent of the Latino vote because he was the "lesser of two evils."
His choice appeared to be the lesser of two evils and more a vote against Sarkozy that a vote for Hollande.
A blog local to one of the Catalyst plants said the reason the contract that was rejected in January was accepted this weekend was because it was the lesser of two evils -- bankruptcy and a new owner might not even offer this much.
Is he arguing for Mitt Romney as the lesser of two evils in 2012?
Most people who voted for the Labour Party did so as it is seen as the lesser of two evils. This is why Mr Mulhearn is correct to state we need a new party.
The lesser of two evils. Members of the State Census Commission (SCC) and the Government probably used this saying when they decided to put an end to the "rashomon" that happened to project "Census 2011", Tatjana Popovska comments for Dnevnik.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a long-term critic of Gaddafi, suggested it might be "the lesser of two evils" to offer the dictator immunity.
Libya: Allowing Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi to escape trial could be "the lesser of two evils" if it means saving the lives of ordinary Libyans, South Africa s Desmond Tutu told the BBC on Sunday.
"It's lose-lose for us - a heavy defeat either way with the Packers the lesser of two evils," said Freeth.
Noting that the North's relationship with South Sudan has been marked by war for decades, the paper said the country had in the end to choose between the lesser of two evils. "The normal answer: A peaceful separation, especially since the North-South war has drained important resources, whose investment in development would have made Sudan a more advanced country than many African and Arab states," the paper said.
Are we morally obligated to abstain from voting if we don't like either candidate enough, or is it a moral choice to pick the one we think is the proverbial "lesser of two evils"?
Toby Dodge, an Iraq specialist at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, says: "If one imagines that Sadr had reconciled himself to Allawi being the lesser of two evils, you've still got a long way to [go].
Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, she joined in a decision late last year that an abortion was the lesser of two evils in the face of the almost certain death of a woman suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a mother of four.
She believed it was the lesser of two evils to abandon the children.