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For Classicists, ‘Quid Pro Quo’ is Music to the Ears

They could have chosen “this for that.” Or possibly even “tit for tat.” But instead, Democrats and Republicans alike decided to go with “quid pro quo” as the defining term for the central accusation of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

They disagree, of course, on whether an illegal quid pro quo occurred, but have embraced the alliterative Latin phrase as the lingua franca for the debate. Now all that remains is the ultimate political thumbs up or thumbs down decision.

But for that, we’ll have to wait. In the meantime, Latin is enjoying a bit of a moment. Yes, it’s caught up in partisanship, rancor and distrust, but that doesn’t mean Latin scholars and students aren’t embracing the nationwide focus on three words that date to the Roman Empire.