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
References in periodicals archive ?
Voting for the lesser of two evils is not like choosing to switch a runaway train to another track so it kills one person instead of five if you do nothing.
Is the question of voting for the lesser of two evils a principled or pragmatic one?
As a result, an insurer may well "play the odds" and settle as the lesser of two evils.
5 Sin of Lesser of Two Evils Claims that may be true within the product category, but that risk distracting consumers from greater environmental impacts from the category as a whole (e.
Pahlavi said that while Iran has conducted elections regularly for several decades with international approval, the pre-selection of candidates by the powerful Guardian Council has required voters to choose among ''the lesser of two evils or multiple evils.
People will waste their votes in voting for the lesser of two evils.
The refinements are these: That Syria was planning to supply Iran with spent nuclear fuel from Al-Kibar, the site Israel bombed in September; that discrepancies found in the amount of fissile material North Korea (Syria's adviser in the construction of Al-Kibar) declared and the amount it could have produced, drastically alter intelligence calculations of how soon Iran could get enough material to make a nuclear bomb; that the point of no-return in Tehran's bomb program is now 2010; and that, yes, there would be regional consequences to a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, but that these would be the lesser of two evils.
More than half of Republicans (59%) would choose the Democrat they view as the lesser of two evils as opposed to the one they think would be easier to beat.
If it is his medial ligament then that is the lesser of two evils because the anterior cruciate ligament would be the worst case scenario.
342% per ounce of shoe weight--is, if not entirely negligible, the lesser of two evils.
When Clinton succeeded in dismantling welfare to an extent that Republicans had only dreamed of, and radical queer activism virtually disappeared from the political landscape, I knew that I could never again vote for the lesser of two evils.
Despite his massive victory, many voters saw Villaraigosa as the lesser of two evils and remain skeptical that he can deliver on his promise to bring people together.
I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and I am weary of having to choose "the lesser of two evils.
Yes, this is about choosing the lesser of two evils.
In such a case, the Catholic voter would have chosen the lesser of two evils, which is morally permissible under these circumstances.