tertium quid


ter·​ti·​um quid ˌtər-shē-əm-ˈkwid How to pronounce tertium quid (audio)
: 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 jurisdictionErnest Baker
: a third party of ambiguous status
there was a man and his wife and a tertium quidRudyard Kipling

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1724, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tertium quid was circa 1724

Dictionary Entries Near tertium quid

Cite this Entry

“Tertium quid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tertium%20quid. Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

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