What Does Against My Better Judgment Mean?

Against My Better Judgment Meaning

Definition: Doing something even though one thinks it is a bad idea.

Origin of Against My Better Judgment

It is unclear exactly when and how this expression originated. However, it may have originated in the 1800s.

One of the definitions of against is contrary to. Judgment can also simply mean to make a decision. Therefore, the literal meaning of doing something against one’s better judgment is to do the opposite of the better decision.

For a discussion of judgement vs. judgment, see here.

Examples of Against My Better Judgment

define against my better judgmentHere is an example that involves two college students discussing whether or not to go to a party.

Robin: Hey, there’s a party going on next door. Let’s go together!

Harry: I’m sorry, but I can’t go. I have a test tomorrow morning, and I’m not prepared at all.

Robin: Well, it’s good that you’re working hard. But I have to say that if you don’t know the material by now, studying a few more hours probably won’t make much of a difference.

Harry: This test is worth 25% of my grade.

Robin: Come on. That girl you like is at the party.

Harry: Really? I guess I could go for a little bit, against my better judgment.

Robin: Yippee! Let’s go now, before you change your mind.

meaning of against my better judgmentIn this dialogue, two coworkers discuss a bad decision that another employee made.

Mal: Hey Xiomara! Did you hear that ambulance?

Xiomara: Yeah, I did. Why? Was someone here hurt?

Mal: Not exactly. The new guy got stuck in the vending machine.

Xiomara: What? How is that even possible?

Mal: Apparently he bought a candy bar, and it got stuck in the machine. Against his better judgment, he decided to try to reach inside it to get it out.

Xiomara: Is he okay?

Mal: Yeah, he’s fine. He’s just embarrassed.

More Examples

This excerpt is from a man who made an investment in a cause in which he believed, even though he thought it wouldn’t give him money. Later, when he realized it was true that he wouldn’t get money, he withdrew his investment. Now he believes that investments should be used only to make money and nothing else.

  • Out argued and assured by a very smart professional financial advisor with a good reputation, I approved a renewable resource-type investment against my better judgement. –OC Register

This excerpt is about a person who bought a car even though it had serious problems.

  • Against my better judgement, I decided to buy an open-top secondhand M151 military jeep that could not exceed 37 mph. –LA Times


The phrase against my better judgment means despite my doubts.