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the lesser of two evils

English translation: the least 'damaging / evil' of the two choices / options on offer

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:the lesser of two evils
English translation:the least 'damaging / evil' of the two choices / options on offer
Entered by: jerrie
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

12:05 Mar 29, 2003
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary
English term or phrase: the lesser of two evils
"....having the war in Iraq is the lesser of two evils..."
Is it an idiomatic expression?
What´ s its meaning??
Russ
Local time: 12:20
the least 'damaging / evil' of the two choices / options on offer
Explanation:
It applies to a situation where you are forced to choose one of two options. Neither option is really positive, so choosing either one will have bad (or evil) results. You try to choose the option that will have the smallest negative impact (or the less "evil" consequences); therefore you choose "the lesser of two evils."

War or no war - the 2 options
Selected response from:

jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:20
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +17the least 'damaging / evil' of the two choices / options on offer
jerrie


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +17
the least 'damaging / evil' of the two choices / options on offer


Explanation:
It applies to a situation where you are forced to choose one of two options. Neither option is really positive, so choosing either one will have bad (or evil) results. You try to choose the option that will have the smallest negative impact (or the less "evil" consequences); therefore you choose "the lesser of two evils."

War or no war - the 2 options

jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:20
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 773
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  EdithK
0 min
  -> Thanks

agree  Raquel Iglesias
11 mins

agree  Marian Greenfield
13 mins

agree  Tina8: right...as usual, Jerrie!!
38 mins

agree  PCovs
43 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  Kim Metzger: Good explanation.
1 hr

agree  Sarah Brenchley
1 hr

agree  Сергей Лузан: Good and clear explanation.
2 hrs

agree  xxxIno66
2 hrs

agree  Andrea Ali
2 hrs

agree  Jack Doughty
3 hrs
  -> Thanks...I loved the weevils...but now they're gone!

agree  Rafa Lombardino
5 hrs

agree  Refugio: True, but when choosing between evils, it is easy to choose wrong, since future consequences are hard to predict.
5 hrs

agree  Empty Whiskey Glass
8 hrs

agree  Gayle Wallimann
8 hrs

agree  Guy
22 hrs

agree  Nikita Kobrin
2 days9 hrs
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