Lately I've encountered a few situations in discussions where I feel like there may be a word that is either more succinct and/or perhaps more wry than just 'ethically convenient'.

An example sentence would be:

You can only say you wont be involved in unethical thing because it so happens that you cant be because reasons unrelated to your ethics. You are being/You are _______.

Basically something just fell on your lap with no personal effort, but you then take advantage of that to further your moral standing. Often it is done willingly, but it could be done with less awareness, perhaps through a form of delusion.

'Casuistic' from the answer here is interesting, but not quite right.

  • So this person has merely had no opportunity to engage in [unethical activity]? He'd willingly be an inside trader, say, if he had access to inside information?
    – TimR
    Jul 24, 2023 at 12:23
  • 2
    Molière's villain initially seems to be a religious and moral hypocrite, but that itself turns out to be a pose, so that his name makes a somewhat unstable metonym. The term hypocrite itself, like disingenuous and opportunistic (as ventured below) comes close to the meaning sought, particularly in the Biblical sense as virtue-signaller, but doesn't quite hit it. If readers could still be counted on to catch literary allusions, I'd suggest "crabapples and p'simmons," in reference to Chapter 12 of Huckleberry Finn. Jul 25, 2023 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


It may not be the most accurate answer to your general question, but given the context you provide --

Disingenuous fits


Given the specific context, it fits very well and also relays an inferred condemnation upon further abuse giving it some value to your general ask

You are being disingenuous.

Your treatment of such a windfall has been most disingenuous.

Their disingenuous handling of a good cause.

  • My sister just came up with this one too. It's close huh. Jul 24, 2023 at 6:51
  • Yeah, pretty close. Tough to find much closer. The only other thought I had was to apply the term "Machiavellian" to the situation. Taking advantage of a situation in the way in which you present is quite Machiavellian in nature.
    – Omnivore
    Jul 25, 2023 at 1:07



may work:

taking advantage of opportunities as they arise: such as a : exploiting opportunities with little regard to principle (see PRINCIPLE sense 1) or consequences; a politician considered opportunistic; an opportunistic investment

For example, “I won’t be able to drive the getaway car for the bank robbery because my sister’s getting married.”

  • interesting! I never considered 'opportunistic' to have such a basis on principle as it has been defined there. A perfect word that I'm after though - if it exists - could/would/may accommodate more passive actions on behalf of the intended target as well. Jul 24, 2023 at 5:11
  • Perhaps an ethical windfall. Suppose you were assigned to community service at a school, and you claim you’ve volunteered to help school children.
    – Xanne
    Jul 24, 2023 at 10:08
  • Armchair liberal or vicarious saint? Jul 24, 2023 at 19:46
  • Also just plain lucky.
    – Xanne
    Jul 25, 2023 at 1:18

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