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?
- 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?)
- 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.