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See also: expédient



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.
    • Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter willnot come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Richard 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.
    Most people, faced with a decision, will choose the most expedient option.
  2. Affording short-term benefit, often at the expense of the long-term.
    • 2009, CQ Weekly, volume 67, number 31-36, page 2190:
      That's because the debate pits textbook economics — which argues that bailouts beget bad behavior begets more bailouts — against practical politics. And politics, or the taking of expedient steps to keep people happy, will almost always win.
    • 2011, L. Fletcher Prouty, ‎Jesse Ventura, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World:
      Government has slowly but positively moved from an active course of following plans and policies to the easier and more expedient course of the counterpuncher.
    • 2013, Douglas B. Klusmeyer, ‎Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Immigration Policy In The Federal Republic Of Germany:
      Its policies toward foreign lab or across these eras reflect these sharp differences in context, but also reflect a common pattern to treat the recruitment and deployment of foreign nationals as an expedient measure to serve immediate economic objectives
  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.
    • a 1623, Shakespeare, King John, Act II, scene 1, lines 57-61
      the adverse winds / Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time / To land his legions all as soon as I; / His marches are expedient to this town / His forces strong, his soldiers confident.


Related terms[edit]



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.


Further reading[edit]




  1. third-person plural future active indicative of expediō