Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Origin: Quid Pro Quo

Origin of:
Quid Pro Quo

Something given in return for an item of equivalent value.

Similar phrases:
Tit for tat.
Give and take.
One good turn deserves another.
You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours (Sometimes expressed as “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, Jack.”)


- In Latin the phrase means “something for something”.

- In colloquial English it often means a favour for a favour.

- The phrase is also used in legal contexts in the areas of trade or exchange of goods and services, often to denote when a contract is binding.

- It is often used to describe corrupt practice, where favours (notably political or sexual favours) are illicitly given in exchange for cash.

- It has been in use since the 1560’s in the senses above.

- Shakespeare used a similar expression in Henry VI (1591): "I cry you mercy, 'tis but Quid for Quo."

- It is believed that the English slang term “quid” for the monetary unit of pound comes from the above phrase.

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