expedient

adjective
ex·​pe·​di·​ent | \ ik-ˈspē-dē-ənt How to pronounce expedient (audio) \

Definition of expedient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : suitable for achieving a particular end in a given circumstance
2 : characterized by concern with what is opportune especially : governed by self-interest

expedient

noun
ex·​pe·​di·​ent | \ ik-ˈspē-dē-ənt How to pronounce expedient (audio) \

Definition of expedient (Entry 2 of 2)

: something done or used to achieve a particular end usually quickly or temporarily : an expedient action or solution

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Other Words from expedient

Adjective

expediently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for expedient

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for expedient

Adjective

expedient, politic, advisable mean dictated by practical or prudent motives. expedient usually implies what is immediately advantageous without regard for ethics or consistent principles. a politically expedient decision politic stresses judiciousness and tactical value but usually implies some lack of candor or sincerity. a politic show of interest advisable applies to what is practical, prudent, or advantageous but lacks the derogatory implication of expedient and politic. sometimes it's advisable to say nothing

Noun

resource, resort, expedient, shift, makeshift, stopgap mean something one turns to in the absence of the usual means or source of supply. resource and resort apply to anything one falls back upon. exhausted all of their resources a last resort expedient may apply to any device or contrivance used when the usual one is not at hand or not possible. a flimsy expedient shift implies a tentative or temporary imperfect expedient. desperate shifts to stave off foreclosure makeshift implies an inferior expedient adopted because of urgent need or allowed through indifference. old equipment employed as a makeshift stopgap applies to something used temporarily as an emergency measure. a new law intended only as a stopgap

Examples of expedient in a Sentence

Adjective Marley found it expedient to maintain social relationships with gunmen and politicans from both political parties. — Robert Palmer, Rolling Stone, 24 Feb. 1994 The marble floor … gave the hall the aspect of a cathedral, and the walls were decorated with aphorisms such as Cicero's THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE IS THE HIGHEST LAW, a phrase he found curiously—or at least potentially—expedient in what was certainly designed as a temple to the idea of law. — Tom Clancy, Patriot Games, 1987 Under political pressure and at the urging of Jefferson, Madison finally (but grudgingly) admitted that a bill of rights might help, over time, to instill in the people a greater respect for "the fundamental maxims of free government." But even as he was shepherding the first amendments through Congress, in 1789, he privately described them (amazingly enough) as a "nauseous project," required only for expedient reasons of politics. — Jack N. Rakove, Atlantic, December 1986 They found it expedient to negotiate with the terrorists. Do the right thing, not the expedient thing. Noun In 1882, racing to meet the deadline on Life on the Mississippi, he [Mark Twain] boasted to W. D. Howells that he had managed to churn out 9,500 words in a day, having resorted to the old hack's expedient of copying out large chunks from other people's books … — Jonathan Raban, Times Literary Supplement, 21–27 Sept. 1990 The Viet Cong taught the peasants to dig cave shelters under the sleeping platforms rural Vietnamese cover with mats of woven straw and use as beds. This expedient gave the peasants a handy shelter right inside the house, unless that house happened to be one of those set afire by the napalm or the white phosphorus, called Willy Peter in U.S. military idiom. — Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 1988 For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. — Henry David Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience," 1849 For it is plain that every word we speak is in some degree a diminution of our lungs by corrosion, and consequently contributes to the shortening of our lives. An expedient was therefore offered, that since words are only names for things, it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them such things as were necessary to express the particular business they are to discourse on. — Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726 The government chose short-term expedients instead of a real economic policy. We can solve this problem by the simple expedient of taking out another loan.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Place customer insights above what’s convenient and expedient for your business. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "13 Straightforward Ways To Improve Branding Strategy," 15 Apr. 2021 The consequences for abandoning our system of laws and our constitutional rights in favor of what is politically expedient are monumental. WSJ, "Puerto Rico’s Debt Raises Many Moral Issues," 17 Mar. 2021 Outraged Democrats saw the approach as a classic McConnell tactic: Create a politically expedient standard and then argue that the standard left him no choice but to do what suited him in the first place. New York Times, "McConnell, Denouncing Trump After Voting to Acquit, Says His Hands Were Tied," 13 Feb. 2021 And none of it is politically expedient or likely to be supported by powerful public-sector unions—which probably explains why, at least in Connecticut, none of it happens. Bob Stefanowski, WSJ, "What Isn’t the Matter With Hartford?," 1 Jan. 2021 That won’t happen as progressive tax systems offer a politically expedient path to avoiding tough decisions. WSJ, "Californians Dream That Only the Rich Will Pay," 26 Aug. 2020 Perhaps these people are expedient in the unnamables. Washington Post, "On Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, a voyage of discovery," 17 July 2020 Do the right thing instead of bowing to what is most expedient. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for August 21, 2020: Gemini, use it or lose it; Virgo, stick to the truth," 21 Aug. 2020 The expedient political union between a nascent athlete empowerment movement and a President of the United States who has fiercely criticized protesting football players came as time was running out for conference... Louise Radnofsky And Ben Cohen, WSJ, "College Sports’ 24 Hours of Political Football," 11 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But for Italy, the ships seemed to offer an expedient way to quell domestic concerns. Ian Urbina, The Atlantic, "Purgatory at Sea," 6 May 2021 In the same way Apple is empowering users to take back control of their data with app tracking, the company is empowering disabled users to take back control of unlocking their phones in an accessible—and expedient—manner. Steven Aquino, Forbes, "Why Unlocking Your iPhone with Apple Watch Matters For Accessibility," 6 May 2021 Be sure to be open and forthcoming with your information, own up to your decisions, be willing to make the tough calls – not just the most politically expedient, and make sure everyone has a seat at the table. Dan Mcgowan, BostonGlobe.com, "These former lieutenant governors who became governors have some advice for Dan McKee," 24 Feb. 2021 Unable or unwilling to speak, Iris presents the cantankerous Augustine with an unwanted companion, and the film an expedient narrative device. Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times, "Review: In ‘The Midnight Sky,’ a grizzled George Clooney considers the end of the world," 22 Dec. 2020 Machine learning provides an equitable, precise and expedient capability to allocate our precious vaccine supplies. Gary Velasquez, Fortune, "The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is dangerously flawed. Science and data could fix it," 18 Dec. 2020 Especially if one of us were to feel ill or to test positive, the rest of us could get tested in a more expedient way and hopefully lessen the impact on the business. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "Strictly Discs in Wisconsin, in a Pandemic: 'We're Seeing an Uptick' in Curbside Pickups," 14 Dec. 2020 Instead Senior Care, who reached out to vendors in Ferndale and Troy to provide masks and face shields to clients in an expedient fashion. Scott Talley, Detroit Free Press, "Senior care company stepped up for employees in very caring ways," 8 Nov. 2020 The new episode feels more expedient and deadline-pressured than what precedes it. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘City So Real’ review: A sobering Chicago symphony in five movements, on Hulu and National Geo," 28 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expedient.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of expedient

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1630, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for expedient

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin expedient-, expendiens, present participle of expedire to extricate, prepare, be useful, from ex- + ped-, pes foot — more at foot

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Time Traveler for expedient

Time Traveler

The first known use of expedient was in the 14th century

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Statistics for expedient

Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expedient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expedient. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for expedient

expedient

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of expedient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

often disapproving : providing an easy and quick way to solve a problem or do something

expedient

noun

English Language Learners Definition of expedient (Entry 2 of 2)

: an easy and quick way to solve a problem or do something : an expedient solution

expedient

adjective
ex·​pe·​di·​ent | \ ik-ˈspē-dē-ənt How to pronounce expedient (audio) \

Kids Definition of expedient

: providing a quick and easy way to accomplish something an expedient solution

Other Words from expedient

expediently adverb

Comments on expedient

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