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See also: expédient
From Middle English expedient, 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”) + pēs (“foot, hoof”).
expedient (comparative more expedient, superlative most expedient)
- Suitable to effect some desired end or the purpose intended.
- Most people, faced with a decision, will choose the most expedient option.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, John 16:7:
- 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.
- a. 1863, Richard Whately, Thoughts and Apophthegms
- Nothing but the right can ever be the expedient, since that can never be true expediency which would sacrifice a greater good to a less.
- Affording short-term benefit, often at the expense of the long-term.
- 1849, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter III, in The History of England from the Accession of James II, volume I, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, →OCLC, page 389:
- [T]he judges were unanimously of opinion that [...] by the common law of England, no man, not authorised by the crown, had a right to publish political news. While the Whig party was still formidable, the government thought it expedient occasionally to connive at the violation of this rule.
- 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
- 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.
- (obsolete) Expeditious, quick, rapid.
- c. 1596 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Life and Death of King Iohn”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i], 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.
suitable to effect some desired end or the purpose intended
simple, easy, or quick; convenient
affording short-term benefit
governed by self-interest
expedient (plural expedients)
- 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, published 2010, page 709:
- Depressingly, [...] the expedient of importing African slaves was in part meant to protect the native American population from exploitation.
a means for achieving an end
- “expedient”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “expedient”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- expedient at OneLook Dictionary Search
- Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “expedient”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
From Latin expedientem.
expedient m or f (masculine and feminine plural expedients)
expedient m (plural expedients)
- “expedient” in Diccionari de la llengua catalana, segona edició, Institut d’Estudis Catalans.
expedient n (plural expediente)
Declension of expedient
|indefinite articulation||definite articulation||indefinite articulation||definite articulation|
|nominative/accusative||(un) expedient||expedientul||(niște) expediente||expedientele|
|genitive/dative||(unui) expedient||expedientului||(unor) expediente||expedientelor|
- English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
- English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *ped-
- English terms inherited from Middle English
- English terms derived from Middle English
- English terms derived from Old French
- English terms derived from Latin
- English 4-syllable words
- English terms with IPA pronunciation
- English terms with audio links
- English lemmas
- English adjectives
- English terms with usage examples
- English terms with quotations
- English terms with obsolete senses
- English nouns
- English countable nouns
- Catalan terms derived from Latin
- Catalan lemmas
- Catalan adjectives
- Catalan epicene adjectives
- Catalan nouns
- Catalan countable nouns
- Catalan masculine nouns
- Latin non-lemma forms
- Latin verb forms
- Romanian terms borrowed from French
- Romanian terms derived from French
- Romanian lemmas
- Romanian nouns
- Romanian countable nouns
- Romanian neuter nouns