Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Appropriate to a purpose.
  • adj. Serving to promote one's interest: was merciful only when mercy was expedient.
  • adj. Based on or marked by a concern for self-interest rather than principle; self-interested.
  • adj. Obsolete Speedy; expeditious.
  • n. Something that is a means to an end.
  • n. Something contrived or used to meet an urgent need. See Synonyms at makeshift.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Simple, easy, or quick; convenient.
  • adj. Governed by self-interest, often short-term self-interest.
  • n. A method or means for achieving a particular result, especially when direct or efficient; a resource.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Hastening or forward; hence, tending to further or promote a proposed object; fit or proper under the circumstances; conducive to self-interest; desirable; advisable; advantageous; -- sometimes contradistinguished from right or principled.
  • adj. Quick; expeditious.
  • n. That which serves to promote or advance; suitable means to accomplish an end.
  • n. Means devised in an exigency; shift.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Serving to promote or urge forward; quick; expeditious.
  • Direct; without deviation or unnecessary delay.
  • Tending to promote some proposed or desired object; fit or suitable for the purpose; proper under the circumstances; advisable.
  • Conducive or tending to present advantage or self-interest.
  • Synonyms and Advisable, desirable, advantageous, profitable, useful, best, wise.
  • n. That which serves to promote or advance a desired result; any means which may be employed to accomplish an end.
  • n. Means devised or employed in an exigency; a shift; a device.
  • n. Synonyms Expedient, Resource, Resort, Contrivance, Device, Shift. Expedient, contrivance, and device indicate artificial means of escape from difficulty or embarrassment; resource indicates natural means or something possessed; resort and shift may indicate either. A shift is a temporary, poor, or desperate expedient. When one's resources begin to fail, one has recourse to contrivances, expedients, etc., and finally to almost any shift. Resort is less often applied to the thing resorted to than to the act of resorting. Contrivance and device suggest most of ingenuity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. appropriate to a purpose; practical
  • n. a means to an end; not necessarily a principled or ethical one
  • adj. serving to promote your interest

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin expediēns, expedient-, present participle of expedīre, to make ready; see expedite.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin expediens (stem expedient-), present participle of expedire ("to bring forward, to dispatch, to expedite; impers. to be profitable, serviceable, advantageous, expedient"), from ex ("out") + pes (Wiktionary)

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