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sine qua non

[sahy-nee kwey non, kwah, sin-ey; Latin si-ne kwah-nohn] /ˈsaɪ ni kweɪ ˈnɒn, kwɑ, ˈsɪn eɪ; Latin ˈsɪ nɛ kwɑˈnoʊn/
an indispensable condition, element, or factor; something essential:
Her presence was the sine qua non of every social event.
Origin of sine qua non
From the Late Latin word sine quā (causā) nōn without which (thing) not

causa sine qua non

[kou-sah si-ne kwah nohn; English kaw-zuh sahy-nee kwey non, kaw-zuh sin-ey kwah nohn] /ˈkaʊ sɑ ˈsɪ nɛ kwɑ ˈnoʊn; English ˈkɔ zə ˈsaɪ ni kweɪ ˈnɒn, ˈkɔ zə ˈsɪn eɪ kwɑ ˈnoʊn/
noun, Latin.
an indispensable condition; requisite.
literally, a cause without which not Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sine qua non
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We require every man in the Army, for that is the 'sine qua non' of victory.

    The Burning Spear John Galsworthy
  • It is the sine qua non of any hopeful outlook for the future of mankind.

  • A sine qua non is that the glass be hot enough to melt the shellac.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • This is a sine qua non, if the nitrate is to get a fair chance.

  • Morality had a vogue in those days, was a sine qua non of fashion.

    The Tapestry Book Helen Churchill Candee
  • Adaptability is therefore the sine qua non of men's life and existence.

    Notes on Islam Ahmed Hussain
  • He had forgotten the final touch, the sine qua non of fashion!

    Skippy Bedelle Owen Johnson
British Dictionary definitions for sine qua non

sine qua non

/ˈsaɪnɪ kweɪ ˈnɒn/
an essential condition or requirement
Word Origin
literally: without which not
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sine qua non

"an indispensable condition," Latin, literally "without which not," from sine "without" (see sans) + qua ablative fem. singular of qui "which" (see who) + non "not" (see non-). Feminine to agree with implied causa. The Latin phrase is common in Scholastic use. Sometimes a masculine form, sine quo non, is used when a person is intended. Proper plural is sine quibus non.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sine qua non in Culture
sine qua non [(sin-i kwah non, nohn)]

The essential, crucial, or indispensable ingredient without which something would be impossible: “Her leadership was the sine qua non of the organization's success.” From Latin, meaning “without which nothing.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with sine qua non

sine qua non

An essential element or condition, as in A perfect cake is the since qua non of a birthday party. This phrase is Latin for “without which not” and has been used in English since about 1600. It appears more in writing than in speech.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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