sine qua non

Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An essential element or condition.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Something absolutely necessary or indispensable; an indispensable condition: as, he made the presence of a witness a sine qua non; used attributively, indispensable; necessary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An essential or indispensable element, condition, or ingredient.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a prerequisite

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin sine quā (causā) nōn, without which (cause) not : Latin sine, without + Latin quā : feminine ablative of quī, which + Latin nōn, not.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin sine qua non, “without which [cause] not”

Examples

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Comments

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  • Latin legal term for "(a condition) without which it could not be" or "but for..." or "without which (there is) nothing." It refers to an indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient.

    October 4, 2008