the 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the lesser evil (or the lesser of two evils)

the less harmful or unpleasant of two bad choices or possibilities.
See also: evil, lesser
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
I will discuss whether or not the PKK is the lesser evil and the role of Iran on Sunday.
Yet both the practice and the theory of counseling the lesser evil have always been controversial, and as a result Benedict's comments have stoked widely varied reactions.
In this context the document refers to the 'teaching of classical theologians' on tolerating the lesser evil.
Surgery should not be undertaken lightly while drugs, the lesser evil, can have unpleasant side-effects.
God may grant we chose the lesser evil. After the party, we went back to
All have chosen exile as the lesser evil (or better option).
"Is tillage the lesser evil, or reduced pesticides the lesser evil?" Hepperly asks.
Among their topics are the obscenity of war and the imperative of the lesser evil, the Three Vows and contemporary thinking about Jewish holy war, violence in and through the text, holy terror, and Augustine.
The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror, Michael Ignatieff (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 160 pp., $22.95 cloth.
'05, p.37) states that in considering the question of the lesser evil, some distinctions must be made between homosexual intercourse and heterosexual intercourse and also between intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Regardless of the vote in a state convention or primary the Lesser Evil current set out to get as many of their supporters as possible to become delegates.
Most of Israel's techniques--house demolitions, the security fence, targeted assassinations--have come under sustained international criticism, not as the lesser evil, but as the greater.
Expansion may seem like the lesser evil for some communities; for others the reverse will be true.