quid pro quo

noun \ ˌkwid-ˌprō-ˈkwō \
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of quid pro quo

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

quid pro quo was our Word of the Day on 11/15/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of quid pro quo in a Sentence

  1. in politics nobody does something for nothing: there's always a quid pro quo involved

quid pro quo and the Apothecary

In the early 16th century, a quid pro quo was something obtained from an apothecary. That's because when quid pro quo (New Latin for "something for something") was first used in English, it referred to the process of substituting one medicine for another—whether intentionally (and sometimes fraudulently) or accidentally. The meaning of the phrase was quickly extended, however, and within several decades it was being used for more general equivalent exchanges. These days, it often occurs in legal contexts.

Origin and Etymology of quid pro quo

New Latin, something for something


Financial Definition of QUID PRO QUO

quid pro quo

What It Is

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that literally means "something for something." The phrase usually indicates an exchange of goods or services of roughly equivalent value.

How It Works

From a legal perspective, quid pro quo indicates that a good or service has been traded for something of equal value. In particular, quid pro quo is used explicitly to indicate that there has been "consideration" in a contract, meaning that there are goods or services being delivered and that acceptable payment is made for these goods or services. Without consideration, or quid pro quo, for example, a contract may be determined to be nonbinding and invalid.

In the political world, for example, quid pro quo sometimes refers to giving support, financial or otherwise, to a political candidate in exchange for the expectation of direct support for an activity of the political benefactor. Quid pro quo may appear as bribery in these cases and such support must always be tested for conflicts of interest.

Why It Matters

Quid pro quo is one of the most common Latin legal terms used. In any transaction, legal, political or otherwise, it is helpful to know the quid pro quo, that is, the balance of the value of the service or good and the financial compensation being offered.


QUID PRO QUO Defined for English Language Learners

quid pro quo

noun

Definition of quid pro quo for English Language Learners

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


Law Dictionary

quid pro quo

noun \ ˌkwid-ˌprō-ˈkwō \

legal Definition of quid pro quo

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

Origin and Etymology of quid pro quo

New Latin, something for something



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up quid pro quo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to suppress quietly or indirectly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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