Day 2506: Quid Pro Quo

Lately, there’s been a lot of  this-for-that activity in the news using the phrase “quid pro quo.” 

If I include  a definition of “quid pro quo”  for you here, will you  leave a comment for me below?

quid pro quo

\ kwid-ˌprō-ˈkwō \

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


back-and-forth, barter, commutation, dicker, exchange, swap, trade, trade-off, truck

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 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
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.

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

I shall now share two things I noticed in that Merriam-Webster definition.   Might you do the same?

  1. I don’t know what a truck is doing there.  These days, I would much rather see a fuel-efficient vehicle than a truck, no matter where it is.  (For my readers in the UK, when I say “truck” I mean a lorry or a wagon.  Now that I’ve cleared that up for you, what will you do for me?)
  2. I can’t believe that those are the most recent examples on the web.

Here are some Quid Pro Quo-tes, from elsewhere on the web.

“Rich people show their appreciation through favors. When everyone you know has more money than they know what to do with, money stops being a useful transactional tool. So instead you offer favors. Deals. Quid pro quos. Things that involve personal personal involvement rather than money.  Because when you’re that rich, your personal time is your limiting factor.”  — John Scalzi, Lock In

“True friendship has no checks or balances.  Once somebody starts Keeping Score, the game is over.” — Kate McGahan

“… and no man gave you a fur coat without expecting to receive something in return. Except for one’s husband, of course, who expected nothing except modest gratitude.” — Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins

“Yes, you scratch my back and I scratch yours. But shouldn’t we, one of these evenings, sit down to figure out why our backs are always so itchy in the first place?” — Rajesh’, Random Cosmos

Let’s see if there are any quid pro quos in these recent quid-pro-photos.





I gave compliments to the chef in exchange for last night’s delicious meal.

I’m now going to post a song, from the musical Rent, which I think illustrates quid pro quo.

If you know any similar songs, feel free to share them with us all.

Many thanks to veterans, writers, performers, cooks, cats, and all those who helped me create this quid-pro-quo post, including YOU.



Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Day 2506: Quid Pro Quo

  1. You did not have to provide me that for me to leave you this, Ann!

  2. Clever post, clever Ann 💛

  3. My quid pro quo for your truck = lorry is boot = trunk

  4. This morning on my way into work I was listening to an episode of “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!” and Peter Sagal explained that saying for there to be a quid pro quo the phrase “quid pro quo” has to be used is like saying that stabbing someone isn’t a crime unless you say “This is a murder!”
    Fortunately laughter is free.
    I am a bit surprised, though, that I haven’t heard anyone quote Hannibal Lecter. Perhaps that’s because no one involved in the quid pro quo in the news is as smart as either Dr. Lecter or Agent Starling.

  5. puella33

    So a quid pro quo, is an exchange, usually in corruptive situations…. although, there’s an exchange in everything and every situation. The post that was “free” of quid pro quo was the citation about friendship- “it has no check and balances|” ; to a degree, it’s unconditional love. A true friendship thus, is hard to find, and when you do, you want to treasure it and nourish it , and thank Goodness.

  6. Fair exchange is no robbery!

  7. We don’t need to make a deal for you to get a comment, Ann 🙂

  8. Quid pro quo, I not only have heard of this saying I know what it means.
    As for leaving a comment, of course I would do so because this is me and that’s how I roll

  9. Thank you for this very clever post. My comment in return is that I was curious about the reference to “truck”, and so I, too, visited the the merriam-webster dictionary. I had never heard of this meaning, so thank you for your post, because I have learnt something today:
    truck verb (2)
    trucked; trucking; trucks
    Definition of truck (Entry 3 of 4)
    transitive verb

    1: to give in exchange : SWAP
    2: to barter or dispose of by barter

    Also I love the quote that you listed by Rajesh. I hadn’t heard it before, and it has really resonated with me, thank you: “…But shouldn’t we, one of these evenings, sit down to figure out why our backs are always so itchy in the first place?”

  10. I was listening to NPR this morning and someone was saying that most Americans didn’t know what Quid Pro Quo indicated until recent headlines. I found that difficult to believe, as I thought it was a fairly common term. But we all know it now! Hmmmm.

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