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Sep 17, 2001
This week's theme
Latin terms used in English

This week's words
quid pro quo
rara avis
sine die
annus mirabilis
sub rosa

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with Anu Garg

Although a "dead" language, Latin remains alive through its extensive vocabulary used in fields such as medicine, science, and law, and also via the numerous words that the English language has borrowed and built upon. And it is still the official language of the Vatican.

We use Latin expressions for many purposes, sometimes to sound more literary and at times for idioms that pack a concept in just a few words that would otherwise take a few sentences. Today's term concisely tells us in only three words the idea of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." This week AWAD presents terms from Latin that are often used in the English language.

quid pro quo

(KWID pro kwo) Pronunciation
plural quid pro quos or quids pro quo

noun: Something given or taken in exchange for something else.

[From Latin quid (what) pro (for) quo (what), something for something.]

"As is now known, 'back-channel' negotiations achieved a quid pro quo. In return for Russian offensive missiles not being placed in Cuba, President Kennedy would remove Jupiter missiles from Turkey and promise not to topple Fidel Castro's communist regime militarily."
Ronald H Carpenter; When the Right Words Counted; Naval History (Annapolis, Maryland); Oct 2001.


After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one. -Cato the Elder, statesman, soldier, and writer (234-149 BCE)

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