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From Old French expedient, from Latin expediens (stem expedient-), present participle of expedire ‎(to bring forward, to dispatch, to expedite; impers. to be profitable, serviceable, advantageous, expedient), from ex ‎(out) + pes.



expedient ‎(comparative more expedient, superlative most expedient)

  1. Suitable to effect some desired end or the purpose intended.
  2. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) Simple, easy, or quick; convenient.
    Most people, faced with a decision, will choose the most expedient option.
    • Bible, John xvi. 7
      It is expedient for you that I go away.
    • Whately
      Nothing but the right can ever be expedient, since that can never be true expediency which would sacrifice a greater good to a less.
  3. Governed by self-interest, often short-term self-interest.
    • 1861, John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
      But the Expedient, in the sense in which it is opposed to the Right, generally means that which is expedient for the particular interest of the agent himself; as when a minister sacrifices the interests of his country to keep himself in place.
  4. (obsolete) Quick; rapid; expeditious.
    • Shakespeare
      His marches are expedient to this town.

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expedient ‎(plural expedients)

  1. A method or means for achieving a particular result, especially when direct or efficient; a resource.
    • 1906, O. Henry, The Green Door:
      He would never let her know that he was aware of the strange expedient to which she had been driven by her great distress.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, page 709:
      Depressingly, [...] the expedient of importing African slaves was in part meant to protect the native American population from exploitation.


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  1. third-person plural future active indicative of expediō