Quid pro quo

Quid pro quo

"Quid pro quo" (Latin for "something for something" [Merriam-Webster, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth Edition), and the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (Third Edition) [http://www.bartleby.com/59/] all so define the Latin expression.] ) indicates a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services.

English speakers often use the term to mean "a favor for a favor" and the phrases "what for what", "give and take", "tit for tat (this for that)", "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" have similar meanings.

Legal usage

In legal usage, "quid pro quo" indicates that an item or a service has been traded in return for something of value, usually when the propriety or equity of the transaction is in question. For example, under the common law (except in Scotland), a binding contract must involve consideration: that is, the exchange of something of value for something else of economic value. If the exchange appears excessively one sided, courts in some jurisdictions may question whether a "quid pro quo" did not actually exist and the contract may be voidable. [One such example is citeweb|title=section 2-302 of the Uniform Commercial Code |url=http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2/article2.htm#s2-302]

Another set of examples arises when an exchange is prohibited by public policy. Where prostitution is illegal, it remains common and lawful to use gifts, expensive meals and so on, as a means of attracting a sexual partner. The distinction is whether sexual favors are directly conditional on receiving gifts and vice-versa. In the absence of such a "quid pro quo", there is no prostitution. Similarly, political donors are legally entitled to support candidates that hold positions with which the donors agree, or which will benefit the donors. Such conduct becomes bribery only when there is an identifiable exchange between the contribution and official acts, previous or subsequent, and the term "quid pro quo" denotes such an exchange. The term may also be used to describe blackmail, where a person offers to refrain from some harmful conduct in return for valuable consideration.

The term is also widely used to denote a type of sexual harassment in two variations, one of which answers to bribery and the other to blackmail. In the former case, unwarranted advancement is offered in return for sexual favors. In the second, deserved advancement, or simple continuation in service, is conditional on sexual receptivity. Since it is not unlawful "per se" for a boss to ask a subordinate for sex, nor vice-versa, it is the "quid pro quo" that makes the situation repugnant to the law.

Other meanings

"Quid pro quo" may less commonly refer to something (originally a medicine) given or used in place of another.

"Quid pro quo" may sometimes be used to define a misunderstanding or blunder made by the substituting of one thing for another, particularly in the context of the transcribing of a text. ["Blunder made by using or putting one thing for another (now rare)" – "Concise Oxford Dictionary, 4th edition, 1950. ]

"Quid pro quo" may sometimes be described as the idiom,"You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours". In legislative contexts, it may take the form of vote trading. It may also describe the reverse situation, for example when a donor expects something in return later.

"Quid pro quo" is often used as a term in England to mean 'What's in it for me?'

The word "Quid" is a British slang term for a unit/units of the currency Pound Sterling (e.g. Twenty Pounds/ Twenty Quid) and is believed to come from the phrase "Quid pro quo", referring to currency as a means of exchange.

Related phrases

The phrase "qui pro quo", or "quiproquo" (from medieval Latin: literally "qui" instead of "quo") is common in languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French, where it means a misunderstanding. ["Qui pro quo" used to refer to a copying mistake made by a scribe, "qui" being the nominative case and "quo" the ablative case of the same personal pronoun.]

In those languages, the phrase corresponding to the usage of "quid pro quo" in English is "do ut des" (Latin for "I give, so that you may give"). [Further information may be found in the [http://www.wordsmith.org/awad/awadmail49.html AWADmail Issue 49] ]

In popular culture

*Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs" (novel and film) uses this phrase to demand personal information from the FBI's agent Clarice Starling in exchange for information.
*Dr. Evil in "Austin Powers in Goldmember" uses this expression when talking to Austin Powers to show that he wants something in return for giving Austin Powers information on Goldmember's whereabouts. Austin, obviously unaware of the term, comically replies "Yes, squid pro roe...". The scene is a parody of "The Silence of the Lambs".
*Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny in the Showtime T.V. show "Californication" uses this line when talking to a girl in bed that he had slept with. She states, "You're nice to me, I am nice to you.." to which Moody replies, "That's very quid pro quo..."
*Quid pro quo Is also the name of the third installment of the Halo 3 Video Documentaries
*In The Lion King the phrase is used in the song "Be Prepared" by Scar when he is talking to the Hyenas about helping him.
*In the Season 1 Episode of Prison Break ("Sleight of Hand"), Scofield uses the phrase in relation to his agreement with mob boss Falzone. Scofield was to give Falzone the location of Fibonacci (a man in witness protection who witnessed a murder Falzone committed and who planned to testify against him) in exchange for $200,000 in cash once he escapes from prison.
*In World of Warcraft the succubus warlock pet uses the phrase when ordered to attack.
*In an episode of Good Eats titled "Power Trip" a scene imitating "The Silence of The Lambs" Coco Carl demands a protein bar in exchange for information on how it is produced.
*In the Son of a Coma Guy episode of House, House quotes Hannibal Lecter by saying "Quid Pro Quo, Clarice".
*In Veronica Mars, Aaron Echolls used this phrase when Kendall Casablancas propositioned him while he was in prison awaiting trial for murder.
*In Apollo Justice, Justice uses this phrase when Phoenix Wright decides to help with anything he can, as long as there's no money involved.
*In Disney's "Aladdin", the genie uses the phrase "There are a few provisos, a couple of quid pro quos" when Aladdin asks if the genie will grant him any three wishes he wants. The genie then proceeds to list the types of wish he cannot grant.
*In Halo 3, on the opening level of Sierra 117, the last fight area to recapture Johnson is titled Quid Pro Quo.
*Is also used in dialogs in Sleuth
*In the Broadway adaptation of The Little Mermaid, during the song "Poor Unfortunate Souls", Ursula states that there is a squid pro quo in her deal with Ariel.
*Quid Pro Quo is name of a film made by Carlos Brooks released in 2008.
*An episode of Boston Legal is titled "Squid Pro Quo" - a reference to an aspect of the trial in that episode, and a supporting character referred to as "The Squid."
*In the book The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

ee also

* List of Latin phrases
* An eye for an eye
* Offset agreement
* Pay to Play


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • quid pro quo — /ˌkwid ˌprō kwō/ n [New Latin, something for something]: something (as consideration) given or received for something else Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. quid pro quo …   Law dictionary

  • Quid pro quo — (lat.: dieses für das) ist ein Rechtsgrundsatz und ökonomisches Prinzip, nach dem jemand, der etwas gibt, dafür eine angemessene Gegenleistung erhalten soll. Eine deutsche Entsprechung wäre: „Wie du mir, so ich dir“. In der Spieltheorie bekannt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • quid pro quo — (lat.: dieses für das) ist ein Rechtsgrundsatz und ökonomisches Prinzip, nach dem jemand, der etwas gibt, dafür eine angemessene Gegenleistung erhalten soll. In der Spieltheorie bekannt unter dem Namen tit for tat, jedoch dort mit der Abwandlung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Quid pro quo — (latín: «algo por algo» o «algo a cambio de algo»;[1] en latín medieval, también quiproquo) es una expresión que originalmente se refería al error de confundir dos términos similares. La locución se refiere, literalmente, a la confusión producida …   Wikipedia Español

  • quid pro quo — Loc. lat. (pron. [kuíd pro kuó]) que significa literalmente ‘algo a cambio de algo’. Se usa como locución nominal masculina con el sentido de ‘cosa que se recibe como compensación por la cesión de otra’: «La demanda interpuesta por la UE contra… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • quid pro quo — [ˌkwıd prəu ˈkwəu US prou ˈkwou] n plural quid pro quos [Date: 1500 1600; : Latin; Origin: something for something ] something that you give or do in exchange for something else, especially when this arrangement is not official quid pro quo for ▪ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • quid pro quo — quid pro quos N COUNT A quid pro quo is a gift or advantage that is given to someone in return for something that they have done. [FORMAL] The statement is emphatic in stating that there must be a quid pro quo... They share a great deal of… …   English dictionary

  • Quid Pro Quo — est une locution latine qui signifie quelque chose pour quelque chose ou quelque chose contre quelque chose, autrement dit un échange de bons procédés, du donnant donnant… L expression s emploie notamment en anglais moderne, dans le contexte… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • quid pro quo — ► NOUN (pl. quid pro quos) ▪ a favour or advantage given in return for something. ORIGIN Latin, something for something …   English terms dictionary

  • quid pro quo — [kwid΄ prō kwō′] n. [L, something for something] 1. one thing in return for another 2. something equivalent; substitute …   English World dictionary

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