tertium quid

noun ter·ti·um quid \ ˌtər-shē-əm-ˈkwid , ˌtər-tē- \

Definition of tertium quid

1 :a middle course or an intermediate component
  • where there are two systems of law and two orders of courts, there must … be some tertium quid to deal with conflicts of law and jurisdiction
  • —Ernest Baker
2 :a third party of ambiguous status
  • there was a man and his wife and a tertium quid
  • —Rudyard Kipling

Origin and Etymology of tertium quid

Late Latin, literally, third something; from its failing to fit into a dichotomy


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