Make Your Editor Cry: Expedient vs. Expeditious
The adjective expedient describes something that provides an easy way to achieve a goal or result, but it’s not necessarily a moral solution. Expedient describes a politically advantageous choice. Expedient also describes something that’s good for you or something that’s useful. It dates back to the 1400s and has its roots in Old French expedient and Latin expedientem.
Anything expeditious is speedy and efficient. People like shortcuts because they are expeditious. The word expeditious means speedy or prompt. Expeditious entered English in the late 1400s via expedition, which also has roots in Old French and Latin. If you want to speed things up, use expeditious.
Although expedient and expeditious come from the same Latin root word for “to make ready or to prompt,” they parted ways by the 1600s, when expedient became self-serving. Use expedient for “advantageous” and expeditious for “speedy,” like how fast you plan for an expedition to Antarctica, or across the street.
Something expedient gives you a boost. If you vote your friend in for city council just because you know he’ll do you a favor in return—that’s an expedient choice. But expeditious is speedy, like your expeditious exit from the voting booth because you know you didn’t do the right thing. You did the expedient thing.
Gregg Bridgeman is the Editor-in-Chief at Olivia Kimbrell Press. He is husband to best-selling Christian author Hallee Bridgeman and parent to three. He continues to proudly serve in the US Armed Forces and has done so in either an active or reserve capacity for more than twenty years as an airborne and air assault qualified paratrooper, earning a Bronze Star for his service. Most importantly, he was ordained in October of 2001 after surrendering his life to Christ decades earlier.