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

advisable, desirable, judicious, politic, prudent, tactical, wise

Synonyms: Noun

makeshift, stopgap

Antonyms: Adjective

impolitic, imprudent, inadvisable, inexpedient, injudicious, unwise

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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

To expedite their relentless foraging, the ants rapidly build bridges over gaps in their path or across trees, using their own bodies as building blocks to create a smooth and expedient path for their kin. Quanta Magazine, "The Remarkable Self-Organization of Ants," 9 Apr. 2014 Yet, as the report detailed, the issue of safe streets often remains a low priority, sidelined in favor of politically expedient campaigns to build new roads, and even considered a barrier to efforts to reduce gridlock, congestion, and drive times. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Safer roads in cities are possible, but politics holding us back, says report," 23 Mar. 2018 Since Hilcorp discovered and reported the leak, the company has been working closely with environmental experts and consultants in close coordination with regulators to shut in the leak in a safe and expedient fashion. Kara Moriarty, Alaska Dispatch News, "Reaction to Hilcorp gas leak ignores history," 13 Mar. 2017 Many legal experts have suggested that the most expedient way to provide reparations to Guatemalan victims is through legislation rather than litigation, perhaps via a public fund such as the one for victims of Tuskegee or 9/11 first responders. Sushma Subramanian, Slate Magazine, "Worse Than Tuskegee," 26 Feb. 2017 Mr. Kaplinsky and other backers of arbitration argue that the private legal system is a more expedient way to resolve disputes. Jessica Silver-greenberg And Michael Corkery, New York Times, "What an Arbitration Clause Looks Like," 5 May 2016 So this isn’t at all the cheap or expedient way to go, and for that the Yorks have to be credited after going cheap or expedient in so many previous important moments. Tim Kawakami, The Mercury News, "A bungled start to the 49ers’ new era–the Yorks fire Baalke and Kelly, and it’s just as awkward as ever," 1 Jan. 2017 The facts no longer matter, only what is politically expedient, sensationalistic, and designed to confirm the preexisting opinions of a large audience. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Roger Ailes, architect of conservative TV juggernaut Fox, is dead at 77," 18 May 2017 But one wishes here, as elsewhere, that Johnson Sirleaf’s biographer would reckon directly with the president’s responsibility for her more expedient choices, rather than depicting her as a victim of circumstance. Jina Moore, New York Times, "A Woman in Charge: A Biography of Liberia’s President," 17 Mar. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And police officers themselves have pushed back against the mayor via their union president, Daryl Turner, who has accused Wheeler of hampering officers and unfairly rushing to criticize them when politically expedient. oregonlive.com, "Mayor Ted Wheeler, without plan in hand, rejects Portland protest violence," 8 July 2019 The expedient solution was to tap the cap-and-trade fund, which is supposed to be used for projects that reduce greenhouse gases, but that has evolved – surprise, surprise – into an all-purpose political slush fund. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, "Walters: Budget decisions on safe water, health insurance defy logic," 13 June 2019 One of the most genuine grassroots organizations in American history, started by destitute farmers in the West and South, the Populist Party had built a movement of millions through the simple expedients of writing letters and sending out lecturers. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "Where Our New World Begins," 10 May 2019 Heinrich, with youthful looks at age 46, has turned his committee appointments, including Armed Services, into a venue for expedient constituent politics in support of the New Mexico’s military facilities and veterans. Morgan Lee, The Seattle Times, "Libertarian says Trump, Democrats need a swing-vote senator," 9 Oct. 2018 Conway’s reframing of the situation is politically expedient. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Kellyanne Conway blamed synagogue shootings on “anti-religiosity”," 29 Oct. 2018 Other action films have similarly explored the idea that holding onto an ethos isn’t expedient for a hero — perhaps most notably in Daniel Craig’s take on James Bond. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "In Mission: Impossible - Fallout, being the good guy has serious consequences," 27 July 2018 Ingenious field-expedient solutions to provide more detection and better identification are a smart way to protect Americans. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Innovative project harnesses Legos and smartphones in the fight against invisible, deadly weapons," 13 July 2018 He was elected for a third consecutive term in 2016 by the expedient of banning the main opposition candidate. The Economist, "Daniel Ortega is causing a bloodbath in Nicaragua," 12 July 2018

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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Statistics for expedient

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expedient

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

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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

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Comments on expedient

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