What Does ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Genuinely Mean?
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What Does ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Genuinely Mean?

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As stress mounts around the impeachment inquiry by Home Democrats, there’s one phrase you’ve potentially heard being bandied about: “quid pro quo.” As in, when President Trump told Ukraine’s newly elected president to examine passe Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, used to be it piece of a quid pro quo? And what does that even imply?

“Quid pro quo” is a Latin phrase that interprets to “something for something.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “something given or bought for something else.” It’s a transaction. I hotfoot to the meals market, I give them a pair of dollars, they give me a gallon of milk; quid pro quo. I babysit my friend’s son for a pair of hours, she brings me a homemade banana bread in return; quid pro quo.

Those are traditional day after day examples, but context is every thing and “quid pro quo” is starting up to consume on a exiguous bit of a detrimental connotation:

I’m now not right here to debate whether Trump’s conversation used to be quid pro quo or correct a profitable demand (despite the reality that, as you may well per chance factor in, I build like my opinions). I’m correct working as of late as a connoisseur of words who finds it tantalizing how language evolves. And in this case, the Columbia Journalism Review analyzes that “quid pro quo” may per chance in actual fact be evolving again to its more detrimental roots.

“Quid pro quo” has shady roots, and it appears to be like to be returning to them. As M-W (Merriam-Webster) says, within the early sixteenth century, a “quid pro quo” came from an apothecary and “referred to the direction of of substituting one medication for one other—whether intentionally (and each so continually fraudulently) or unintentionally.”

While that usage is knowing to be obsolete, The Oxford English Dictionary’s next definition, from the mid-sixteenth century, exhibits that “quid pro quo” persevered carrying a taint: “One factor in return or exchange for one other; tit for tat.” On the present time, we roar “tit for tat” largely to imply payback or retaliation, or, as M-W places it, “an linked given in return (as for an damage) : retaliation in variety.”

So that you may well per chance per chance additionally level-headed roar the jubilant, pure “quid pro quo” usage to discuss with the $Four Starbucks latte splurge—or you may well per chance per chance additionally roar “quid pro quo” in circumstances the build motives will be more tainted.


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November 8, 2019

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