desperate times call for desperate measures

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Alternative forms[edit]


This phrase likely originates with a saying of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, which appears in his Aphorisms: "For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable."[1]. A similar phrase occurs in Erasmus's Latin adage "Malo nodo, malus quærendus cuneus" (from his 1500 book Adagia, which was first published in English in 1545).[2] Another similar Latin saying, "extremis malis extrema remedia," appears in print as early as 1596.[3]


desperate times call for desperate measures

  1. In adverse circumstances, actions that might have been rejected under other circumstances may become the best choice.


See also[edit]