expedient


expedient
expedient adj Expedient, politic, advisable are comparable when they are used to imply a choice (as of course, action, or method) and to mean dictated by practical wisdom or by motives of prudence.
Something is expedient from which definite and usually immediate advantages accrue. Originally and still occasionally the word carries no derogatory implication
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it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you— Jn 16:7

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In its sense development expedient came to imply determination by immediate conditions and to mean necessary or suitable under present circumstances
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there shall be appointed . . . such number of . . . justices of the peace as the president of the United States shall, from time to time, think expedientJohn Marshall

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As a result expedient now commonly implies opportuneness (sometimes with a strong hint of timeserving) as well as advantageousness
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they decided that it was not expedient (that is, neither opportune nor of advantage) to interfere now

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Very frequently also it connotes such an ulterior motive as self-interest
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purely for expedient reasons he let the Iroquois alone— Hervey Allen

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Consequently expedient is often opposed to right, the former suggesting a choice determined by temporal ends, the latter one determined by ethical principles
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too fond of the right to pursue the expedientGoldsmith

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Something is politic which is the judicious course, action, or method from the practical point of view. Though often used interchangeably with expedient, politic may be applied discriminatively to choices involving tactics or the effective handling of persons, and expedient to choices involving strategy, or the gaining of objectives
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the move was a politic one, for it served to win friends to the cause and to placate its enemies

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community of race ... is mainly a politic fiction, at least in countries of European civilization, in which the races are inextricably mixed up— Encyc. Brit.

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Like expedient, however, politic often implies material motives
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whether it is not your interest to make them happy .... Is a politic act the worse for being a generous one?— Burke

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Something is advisable which is expedient in the original, underogatory sense of that word. Advisable has now nearly lost its original derivative sense and is preferred by writers or speakers who wish to avoid any of the unpleasant implications of expedient or of politic
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I don't think that it's altogether advisable to mention Dickens in a sermon .... Some people might be offended at mentioning a novelist in churchMac ken zie

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he was told it was not advisable to drive on through the mountains because of the night fogs— Sylvester

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Analogous words: advantageous, *beneficial, profitable: useful, utilitarian (see corresponding nouns at USE): *seasonable, opportune, timely, well-timed: feasible, practicable, *possible
Antonyms: inexpedient
Contrasted words: detrimental, deleterious (see PERNICIOUS): harming or harmful, hurting or hurtful, injuring or injurious (see corresponding verbs at INJURE): *futile, vain, fruitless
expedient n *resource, resort, shift, makeshift, stopgap, substitute, surrogate
Analogous words: *device, contrivance, contraption: *mean, agency, instrument, instrumentality, medium

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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