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A.Word.A.Day--quid pro quo

Pronunciation RealAudio

quid pro quo (KWID pro kwo) noun, plural quid pro quos or quids pro quo

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.

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.


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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