quid pro quo

\ ˌkwid-ˌprō-ˈkwō How to pronounce quid pro quo (audio) \

Definition of quid pro quo

: something given or received for something else also : a deal arranging a quid pro quo

Keep scrolling for more

Frequently Asked Questions About quid pro quo

Is quid pro quo legal?

Quid pro quo means "something given or received for something else." There is nothing inherently illegal in giving or receiving something in exchange for something else, but in legal contexts quid pro quo often refers to something that is in fact illegal, such as if a company gives a government official money in exchange for receiving a contract that rightly should be given to whatever company is best able to meet the requirements for the contract.

Is quid pro quo bribery?

One might say that every bribe is a case of quid pro quo, but not every quid pro quo is a case of bribery. A bribe is something (such as money or a favor) given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of someone, and while quid pro quo may to be used to describe this, it may also refer to something merely traded for something else.

What does quid pro quo have to do with medicine?

In current use, quid pro quo has little to do with medicine, but the Latin phrase it came from (which may be translated as "something for something") originated with apothecaries (people who prepare and sell drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes). In the 16th through the 18th centuries a quid pro quo often referred to the substitution of one medicine for another.

Examples of quid pro quo in a Sentence

in politics nobody does something for nothing: there's always a quid pro quo involved
Recent Examples on the Web After all, moderates in good faith negotiated an agreement in August with the Speaker that facilitated a (legal) quid pro quo. Charlie Dent, CNN, 7 Oct. 2021 But soon darker agendas are revealed, especially in one of her benefactors who wants more than a little quid pro quo. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 26 Aug. 2021 The unholy partnership has always necessitated a certain quid pro quo. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 29 July 2021 Historically, American -- and by extension Western -- support for countries like Afghanistan was given on a quid pro quo basis. Luke Mcgee, CNN, 24 Aug. 2021 Second, a faculty member might seek inside information about a game as part of a quid pro quo. Marc Edelman, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 Similar accusations against the bloc of school board members were levied in the ethics reports, which accused them of steering contracts, doing political favors and engaging in a quid pro quo with a labor union. Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2021 When asked whether the two countries are working on a quid pro quo for a new agreement, as in the U.S. rewarding Mexico for its cooperation on immigration, Velasco vehemently denied the assertion. Dallas News, 7 Aug. 2021 Blakely told the jury that the arrangement wasn’t a quid pro quo. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, 29 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quid pro quo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of quid pro quo

1532, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quid pro quo

New Latin, something for something

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About quid pro quo

Time Traveler for quid pro quo

Time Traveler

The first known use of quid pro quo was in 1532

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About quid pro quo

Dictionary Entries Near quid pro quo


quid pro quo

quids in

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for quid pro quo

Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quid pro quo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quid%20pro%20quo. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for quid pro quo

quid pro quo


English Language Learners Definition of quid pro quo

: something that is given to you or done for you in return for something you have given to or done for someone else

quid pro quo

\ ˌkwid-ˌprō-ˈkwō How to pronounce quid pro quo (audio) \

Legal Definition of quid pro quo

: something (as consideration) given or received for something else

History and Etymology for quid pro quo

New Latin, something for something

More from Merriam-Webster on quid pro quo

Britannica English: Translation of quid pro quo for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!