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  • IPA(key): /ɛk.ˈspiː.dɪ.ə


expediency (countable and uncountable, plural expediencies)

  1. (uncountable) The quality of being fit or suitable to effect some desired end or the purpose intended; suitability for particular circumstance or situation.
    • 1810, Thomas Cogan, An Ethical Treatise on the Passions and Affections of the Mind, p. 137:
      Imperfet governments […] may palliate crimes upon the plea of necessity or expediency; divine wisdom discovers no expediency in vice; […]
    • 1828, Richard Whately, Elements of Rhetoric, part II, p. 214:
      Much declamation may be heard in the present day against “expediency”, as if it were not the proper object of a Deliberative Assembly, and as if it were only pursued by the unprincipled.
  2. (uncountable) Pursuit of the course of action that brings the desired effect even if it is unjust or unprincipled.
  3. (obsolete) Haste; dispatch.
  4. (countable) An expedient.


Related termsEdit



  • OED2
  • expediency in An American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, 1828.
  • expediency in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
  • expediency at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • expediency” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.