I am curious whether a specific phrase or similar exist.

E.g., modus vivendi characterize "an arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully".

I am looking for a phrase that characterize a tendency to work towards an easy solution/avoid advanced situations. Like "tendency to choose an easy solution".

Edit for further clarification So I do health research. We just found in a large-scale study that the mortality rate decreased for intensive care unit patients during the Covid-19 lockdown. We have learned by manually reviewing patient records that ICU facilities have significantly altered selection of patients eligible for ICU admission. The predominant characteristics of these patients comprise diagnogses prone to more favorable outcomes compared to pre-lockdown ICU patients. Thus, there have occured a state of modus operandi prone to pre-hospital selecting of admitting patients with more favorable outcomes. I seek a short catch phrase to encapsulate this practise fit for a paper title in health care research.

  • "Taking the easy way out" or "taking the soft option". They both express disapproval of the tendency. Jan 28 at 9:18
  • @cmirian Are you looking for something which disapproves, or a simply neutral word?
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 28 at 12:23
  • Does this answer your question? Alternative idiom to "phone it in" Jan 28 at 15:20
  • Did you edit your question after you first posted it? I thought you mentioned disapproval. By "advanced situations" do you mean complex solutions or complications/difficulties?
    – DjinTonic
    Jan 28 at 15:20
  • See updated question for further clarification
    – cmirian
    Jan 28 at 20:19

4 Answers 4


Low friction, where friction refers to the degree of difficulty or effort required to navigate life and perform everyday tasks.

The word "friction" is often used beyond its literal meaning in physics to refer to things that cause hassle, trouble, or irritation in life. In physics, friction reduces speed and impedes movement, and likewise in life.

A Microsoft blog quotes a retail expert as saying: "Get as low friction as possible, that's the mantra of being an online retailer, low friction is critical."

A paper by Kivi Sotamaa talks about reducing friction in the context of design: low friction means "ease and fluidity", things "that work in a simple, unobtrusive way".

This article from Berkeley U on mindfulness says "mindfulness can decrease our emotional reactivity to negative events, potentially leading to less social friction in more uncertain, anxiety-producing situations."

Arkansas Online says "In the study of habit formation, whatever makes it harder to achieve your goal is called friction. Reducing friction means removing an obstacle or coming up with a strategy that makes a task easier to do."

  • See updated question for further clarification
    – cmirian
    Jan 28 at 20:20

expediency (n.)

The quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral; convenience.

That creation can only be regarded as one of expediency and convenience.

With a national election looming next year, the dispute is charged with allegations of political expediency. Lexico

Expediency means doing what is convenient rather than what is morally right.


This was a matter less of morals than of expediency. Collins

Expediency comes from the word expedient, which derived from the Latin expedientem, meaning "beneficial." The negative aspect of the word came about in the 18th Century, taking on the aspect of doing something in the most convenient and advantageous manner, even though that way might be against conventional ethics. As W. Somerset Maugham once wrote, “The most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency.”

The quality of being suited to the end in view. vocabulary.com

Traveling this route requires resisting the expediency of easy answers and immediate concentration on solutions. Rather, it depends on thought-provoking questions that get to the heart of the matter and can yield more effective answers and solution, both in the short term and the long term. R. Dilworth and Y. Boshyk; Action Learning and its Applications

Easy solution, yes. Correct solution, perhaps. However, expediency in resolving a problem can often lead to hasty decisions when we pick the most obvious decision rather than the best one (Beach, 1997). T. Harris and J. Sherbiom; Small Group and Team Communication (2018)

Expediency, regardless of justice, may sometimes seem to offer an easy solution of difficult practical problems, but it is a delusive seeming. The temporary adoption of such expedients, when contrary to the inexorable requirements of far-seeing or sympathetic justice, will always degrade, and in the end destroy, the socity which persists in resting upon expediency instead of principle. Elizabeth Blackwell; Essays in Medical Sociology (1902)

  • See updated question for further clarification
    – cmirian
    Jan 28 at 20:20

Anything for an easy life is (or was 50 years ago) a fixed expression meaning 'I / they / he ... will choose the/an option seemingly less likely to lead to danger / difficulties / hard work'.

This example is from GBS Corporate_Assertiveness at Work:

Sometimes, when the pressure mounts it is easy to default into either an aggressive manner, or perhaps when weary, we default into a submissive manner, and cave in, anything for an easy life.

And this from the Independent, 2019 ... courtesy of Google

But the 'anything for an easy life' reasoning undermines the original ethos of poppies.

And this, from Beauty and the Boutique no less, like the first shows the usual standalone (parenthetical when in a sentence) usage:


... it’s also retractable, so you never need a sharpener (anything for an easy life!)

  • See updated question for further clarification
    – cmirian
    Jan 28 at 20:20

Where Occam’s Razor doesn’t cut it

Good eh? You read it here first (although I imagine it has been said before).

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