Quid pro quo–huh?

“Quid pro quo” has been dominating the news this past week, with people discussing whether President Trump’s saying to the president of Ukraine—“I would like you to do us a favor though”—is an example of “quid pro quo.”

student thinking about what to write

Newscasters use the phrase glibly, but I wonder how many listeners or readers know what “quid pro quo” means.

Many Latin phrases or abbreviations seem not to be taught in schools any more.  When I write, “e.g.,” students ask me what I mean.  When I tell them, they ask, Shouldn’t you write “ex”?

For the heck of it, see how many once commonly used Latin phrases or abbreviations you know.  Answers are below.




et al.






Ph. D.



quid pro quo






A.D. means Anno Domini or year of our Lord.  For the past 2,000 years, Europeans have kept track of time by using the birth of Jesus Christ as the starting point.  For example, 2019 A.D. means 2019 years after the birth of Christ.

a.m. means ante meridiem, before the middle of the day, before noon, morning

e.g. means exempli gratia, for example, for instance

et al. means and the others when referring to people

etc. means and the others when referring to inanimate objects

ibid. means ibidem, in the same place.  It is used in bibliographies to show that a second entry comes from the same place as the previous entry.

i.e. means that is or in other words

lb. means libra, scales, weight in pounds

N.B. means Nota Bene, note well, and is written in upper case letters

Ph. D. means Philosophiae Doctor, Doctor of Philosophy

p.m. means post meridiem, after the middle of the day, after noon

P.S. means post scriptum, after the text

quid pro quo means something for something, an exchange of goods or services contingent on each party doing what is promised

re. means concerning, in the matter of

sic means sic erat scriptum, thus it was written; used to show an error in the original which the person quoting has not changed

stat. means statim, immediately

v. means versus, against



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