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a necessary evil

Meaning: If you say something is a necessary evil, you don't like it but you understand that it has to be accepted sometimes or it has to exist.

For example:

  • Sandra says money's a necessary evil. She thinks it causes many problems, but she can't imagine how the world could work without it.

  • My brother regards exercise as a necessary evil. He hates doing it, but he knows he has to do it if he wants to stay healthy.

Quick Quiz:

Many people would say a good example of something that could be called "a necessary evil" is
  1. love of one's children
  2. hatred of one's neighbours
  3. a war to defend one's country

Discuss: a necessary evil

Idiom of the Day

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