make a virtue of necessity

Idioms & Phrases

make a virtue of necessity

Do the best one can under given circumstances, as in Since he can't break the contract, Bill's making a virtue of necessity. This expression first appeared in English in Chaucer's The Knight's Tale: "Then is it wisdom, as it thinketh me, to make virtue of necessity." Also see make the best of.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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