1. Suitable or efficient for accomplishing a purpose: thought email was the most expedient way to communicate with distant relatives.
2. Convenient but based on a concern for self-interest rather than principle: changed his position when it was politically expedient.
3. Obsolete Speedy; expeditious.
1. Something that is a means to an end, especially when based on self-interest: compromised only as an expedient to boost his career.
2. Something contrived or used to meet an urgent need: exhausted every expedient before filing a lawsuit.
[Middle English, from Latin expediēns, expedient-, present participle of expedīre, to make ready; see EXPEDITE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.