necessary evil


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necessary evil

Something bad that must exist or occur in order for something good to happen. These days, student loans are a necessary evil in order to get an education that leads to a well-paying job. Some view dictators as a necessary evil who keep the region stable by suppressing more radical elements.
See also: evil, necessary

a necessary evil

COMMON If you describe something as a necessary evil, you mean that although it is unpleasant, it is needed. He viewed war as a necessary evil. Managers sometimes think that training is a necessary evil that has to be done but is too expensive.
See also: evil, necessary

a necessary evil

something that is undesirable but must be accepted.
1997 Internet World Advertising may be a necessary evil. After all, someone has to support Internet ventures.
See also: evil, necessary

a ˌnecessary ˈevil

a thing that is unpleasant or even harmful, but which must be accepted because it brings some benefit: Injections against tropical illnesses are a necessary evil when you are planning to travel to that part of the world.I suppose all these security measures are a necessary evil.
See also: evil, necessary
References in classic literature ?
The smallness of the army renders the natural strength of the community an overmatch for it; and the citizens, not habituated to look up to the military power for protection, or to submit to its oppressions, neither love nor fear the soldiery; they view them with a spirit of jealous acquiescence in a necessary evil, and stand ready to resist a power which they suppose may be exerted to the prejudice of their rights.
you know a chaperone is a necessary evil," he objected.
Our experts concluded that though the dance world often bemoans the emphasis on extreme technique, in many cases tricks are a necessary evil.
The phone has become a necessary evil whose ring more often than not signals another attempt to sell something no one wants.
BUDGET cuts are a necessary evil in 2015 for many areas of society.
HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) has opined that the housing boom was a necessary evil in Australia.
Professor Tom Cannon from University of Liverpool told us: "Exams are a necessary evil and the stress comes with doing the exams, there is no alternative to it.
Three months ago I would have agreed that wind turbines were a necessary evil until I discovered the evil that has been proposed for this area.
Perceptions probably place most non-experts on the topic of nuclear power as viewing it either as a necessary evil or as an evil that is not necessary.
Every Friday night they gather for a traditional family meal which, according to the siblings, is a necessary evil - necessary because they need to eat, and evil because it means they must spend time with their elders.
The nine-year-old Unbridled's Song mare is the dam of Hollywood Park Grade 3 winner Necessary Evil.
This is a necessary evil, which may initially slow economic recovery in these regions.
YOU printed a letter from Mr Tim Archer under the heading "A necessary evil or a new toy?
Was the assassination of Julius Caesar a heroic effort, a necessary evil, or simply an evil?
Necessary Evil, the third of four winners on the card for Joel Rosario, beat the boys in the 70th running of the $100,000 Juvenile Championship, drawing off to win by three lengths while covering six furlongs in 1:09.