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

And waiting for a public guardian to be appointed can take months, leaving a professional guardian as the most expedient way to move patients from the hospital to a nursing home or other setting. Monivette Cordeiro, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida professional guardian Rebecca Fierle: Devoted or dangerous? | Exclusive," 26 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Although often a short-term expedient, most women who start to work part-time continue for longer than intended. The Economist, "Part-time jobs help women stay in paid work," 5 Sep. 2019 The extradition became politically expedient for the president of Kenya, a win-win for him. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How a San Diego AI company helped bring down an African crime boss," 24 Aug. 2019 Keeping pluralism at bay today is like keeping apartheid going in South Africa in the late 20th century, where white supremacists were driven to ever-more extreme and desperate expedients. K.n.c., The Economist, "The radical politics of futurists and fascists—and us, here, today," 19 July 2019 This irrelevant polygraph sideshow is a publicity stunt by the plaintiff to seek to undermine Judge Moore’s credibility through the expedient of hiring a competing expert to discredit the examiner’s findings of innocence. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al.com, "Corfman lawsuit against Roy Moore ‘theatre of the absurd,’ court filing says," 8 July 2019 Instead of allowing each plan to work its way through a time-consuming process in court, the state wants to spend two weeks coming up with an alternate method of vetting the different proposals that officials think will be more expedient. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "PG&E bankruptcy judge grants Newsom’s request for time extension," 24 July 2019 In Act 2, Zelda reveals devastating news about her health, something which seems too expedient a way to advance the plot. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Theater review: More to “How and Why’ than meets the eye," 18 July 2019 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

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

15 Aug 2019

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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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