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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 /
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noun

an indispensable condition, element, or factor; something essential: Her presence was the sine qua non of every social event.

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Origin of sine qua non

From Late Latin sine quā (causā) nōn “without which (thing) not”

Words nearby sine qua non

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use sine qua non in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sine qua non

sine qua non
/ Latin (ˈsaɪnɪ kweɪ ˈnɒn) /

noun

an essential condition or requirement

Word Origin for sine qua non

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

Cultural definitions for sine qua non

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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