Definition of a necessary evil in English:

a necessary evil

phrase

  • Something that is undesirable but must be accepted:

    ‘for many, paying taxes is at best a necessary evil’
    • ‘Speed cameras - a necessary evil or just a way of bringing money in?’
    • ‘But we are prepared to tolerate these noises as being a necessary evil.’
    • ‘State and local officials have come to view tax breaks and ‘incentives’ as a necessary evil.’
    • ‘But if lights are occasionally necessary, they are a necessary evil.’
    • ‘To others, myself included, cleaning a dirty weapon is a necessary evil.’
    • ‘Forest fires are a necessary evil, argue scientists and government officials.’
    • ‘They are seen as a necessary evil to promote stability and foreign investment in the region.’
    • ‘They do not enhance the appearance of the district in which they are situated but are coming to be regarded as a necessary evil.’
    • ‘They seem to see sprawl as a problem to be eliminated, not a necessary evil to be mitigated.’
    • ‘We see some of these salaries as a necessary evil in order to attract good people to run our establishments!’
    • ‘The department of sericulture, on the other hand, had accepted the problem of children working in silk factories as a necessary evil.’
    • ‘If this was making inroads into the problem then many Americans would reluctantly accept this as a necessary evil.’
    • ‘So capitalism is indeed a necessary evil, and has been around ever since the beginning of human nature?’
    • ‘I tried hating school, but I decided long ago that education was a necessary evil.’
    • ‘So in that sense, I agree that litigation can be a necessary evil.’
    • ‘In fact they enter the course regarding cryptography as a necessary evil that must be endured in order for them to obtain an Information Security qualification.’
    • ‘Despite this, the daily commute is considered by most to be a necessary evil to be tolerated in order to call a place your own.’
    • ‘Many investors say they care less for animal than human lives, taking the view that animal testing is a necessary evil if medical developments are to progress.’
    • ‘I can think of 1,000 things I would rather do with my time, but it's a necessary evil.’
    • ‘We seem to accept death on the road as a necessary evil.’
    • ‘Animal testing is a necessary evil which will exist for many years to come.’