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sine qua non

play
noun si·ne qua non \ˌsi-ni-ˌkwä-ˈnän, -ˈnōn also ˌsē-; also ˌsī-ni-ˌkwā-ˈnän\

Simple Definition of sine qua non

  • : something that is absolutely needed

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of sine qua non

plural

sine qua nons

also

sine quibus non

play \-ˌkwi-(ˌ)bu̇s- also -ˌkwī-\
  1. :  something absolutely indispensable or essential <reliability is a sine qua non for success>

Examples of sine qua non in a sentence

  1. Patience is a sine qua non for this job.

  2. <an extensive grounding in mathematics is a sine qua non for a career in architecture>



Did You Know?

Sine qua non can be translated literally as "Without which, not". Though this may sound like gibberish, it means more or less "Without (something), (something else) won't be possible". Sine qua non sounds slightly literary, and it shouldn't be used just anywhere. But it actually shows up in many contexts, including business ("A solid customer base is the sine qua non to success"), show business ("A good agent is a sine qua non for an actor's career"), and politics ("His support was really the sine qua non for her candidacy").

Origin and Etymology of sine qua non

Late Latin, without which not


First Known Use: 1602


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