Definition of sine qua non
sine qua nonsalso
sine quibus nonplay \-ˌkwi-(ˌ)bu̇s- also -ˌkwī-\
: something absolutely indispensable or essential <reliability is a sine qua non for success>
Examples of sine qua non in a sentence
Patience is a sine qua non for this job.
<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
SINE QUA NON Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sine qua non for English Language Learners
: something that is absolutely needed
Seen and Heard
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