quid pro quo

noun
\ 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

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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.

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 The former real estate tycoon would perhaps see such an arrangement as a fitting quid pro quo. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump’s perplexing insistence on ‘keeping’ Middle Eastern oil," 15 Nov. 2019 Survey respondents in southern Ukraine were the least supportive of agreeing to Trump’s alleged quid pro quo. Olga Kamenchuk, The Conversation, "Ukrainians are divided over Trump’s ‘quid pro quo’," 12 Nov. 2019 Democrats see the actions as a quid pro quo, trading government policy and funding for a political favor. NBC News, "Energy chief Perry won't testify behind closed doors in impeachment inquiry," 2 Nov. 2019 Brown and Baker said development offices at elite universities generally won’t discuss a large gift with a prospective donor who has a child applying or about to apply, because admitting the student would look like a quid pro quo. Daniel Golden, ProPublica, "The Hedge Fund Billionaire’s Guide to Buying Your Kids a Better Shot at Not Just One Elite College, but Lots of Them," 28 Sep. 2019 Any contributor who believes their support would result in some quid pro quo would be extremely misguided. Thy Vo, The Mercury News, "Concealed guns probe: Records confirm big donor to Santa Clara County sheriff’s campaign was issued rare concealed weapons permit," 19 Sep. 2019 The investigation revolved around suspicions of a quid pro quo — whether the Interior Department rejected a casino application in exchange for campaign contributions from other tribes that opposed the project. Ian James, azcentral, "He took down dams, freed wolves and preserved wildlands. Bruce Babbitt is still at work," 14 July 2019 Sullivan, who secretly recorded the meeting, disputes that characterization and says the two lawmakers offered him a quid pro quo. James Barragán, Dallas News, "What was motive for Texas House Speaker's secret meeting? ‘Target list’ or effort to keep GOP majority," 23 Aug. 2019 Many Americans are legitimately worried about special interests and corporations using campaign spending as a quid pro quo to gain political access and influence. Joe Lonsdale, National Review, "Regulating Speech Won’t Fix Our Politics," 12 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of quid pro quo

1582, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quid pro quo

New Latin, something for something

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The first known use of quid pro quo was in 1582

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Last Updated

19 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Quid pro quo.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quid%20pro%20quo. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for quid pro quo

quid pro quo

noun

Financial Definition of 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.

Source: Investing Answers

quid pro quo

noun
How to pronounce quid pro quo (audio)

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

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on quid pro quo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quid pro quo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quid pro quo

Britannica English: Translation of quid pro quo for Arabic Speakers

Comments on quid pro quo

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