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Definition a practical action — especially one that accepts negative tradeoffs due to circumstances


convenient, speedy, or practical

Much more rarely, expedient can also imply that an action was taken for reasons of self-interest rather than for moral reasons.

In the sense of speedy, the word is less commonly used today than in the past; though it may still be used as in "an expedient end" or "an expedient amount of time," or "We are depending upon your expediency."
  • It was a necessary expedient to get the job done.
expedient = a speedy or practical action

(The word necessary, implies that there were undesired aspects of the action.)
  • Until the new computer system is in place, e-mailing sensitive data will be a necessary expedient.
  • expedient = practical action that accepts negative tradeoffs
  • It is only by following your deepest instinct that you can lead a rich life, and if you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin.
    Katharine Butler Hathaway
  • But the sad thing was that he [Richard Nixon] knew they [wage & price controls] were a bad idea all along. It was pure political expediency:
    Alan Greenspan  --  The Age of Turbulence
  • There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • It is a measure of the framers' fear that a passing majority might find it expedient to compromise 4th Amendment values that these values were embodied in the Constitution itself.
    Sandra Day O'Conner (Supreme Court Justice)
  • Under the circumstances, it was expedient to express loyalty.
  • He declared them to be, like all other morals, merely an expedient for protecting a certain type of man.
    Nietzsche, Friedrich  --  Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book For All And None
  • [King] Henry had once been a sincere Catholic and had even authored a book strongly criticizing Luther, but he later found it expedient and profitable to break with the Papacy.
    Protestant Reformation - Wikipedia  -- (retrieved 05/20/06)
  • His comment is politically expedient.
  • With more time, diplomacy might have worked, but war was a necessary expedient for preserving power.
  • He was merciful only when mercy was expedient.
  • Some expected an expedient exit from Iraq, but the insurgency dragged on for years.
  • The building needed a new foundation, but filling the soil with water was expedient.
  • He was asked by Colonel Lloyd and my old master, why he resorted to this extraordinary expedient.
    Douglass, Frederick  --  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave
  • The Constitution requires that the president "from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."
    Gene Healy  --  Speech from the Throne  -- (retrieved 06/28/06)
  • Under the Protestant Henry IV, king of France, the Huguenots triumphed for a short time, but as Paris and more than nine-tenths of the French people remained Roman Catholic, the king deemed it expedient to become a convert to Roman Catholicism.
    Reformation - MSN Encarta  -- (retrieved 05/21/06)
  • it is expedient that one man should die for the benefit of many
    John Le Carre  --  The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
  • expedient = an action that is practical
  • I shall no longer ask myself if this or that is expedient, but only if it is right.
    Alan Paton  --  Cry, the Beloved Country
  • expedient = convenient, speedy, or practical
  • It was now packed inside the beaded bag, which, Harry was impressed to learn, Hermione had protected from the Snatchers by the simple expedient of stuffing it down her sock.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
expedient = speedy and practical action

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