sine qua non

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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Latin [condiciō] sine quā nōn ([condition] without which not), originated in Aristotelian expressions as legal term.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌsaɪnɪ kweɪ ˈnɒn/, /ˌsɪnɪ kwɑː ˈnəʊn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌsɪni kwɑ ˈnɑn/, /ˌsɪni kwɑ ˈnoʊn/, /ˌsaɪni kweɪ ˈnɑn/
  • Rhymes: -ɒn, -əʊn
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sine qua non (plural sine qua nons or sine quibus non)

  1. An essential or indispensable element, condition, or ingredient.
    • 1702, G[iles] D[uncombe], Tryals per Pais: or, the Law of England Concerning Juries by Nisi Prius, &c. Newly Revised, and much Enlarged, with an Addition of Precedents, and Forms of Challenges, Demurrers upon Evidence, Bills of Exception, Pleas Puis le Darrein Continuance, &c. The Fourth Edition with Large Additions. To which is now Added, a farther Treatise of Evidence. Together with a New and Exact Table to the whole Matter. Very Useful and Necessary for all Lawyers, Attornies and other Practisers, especially at the Assises, 4th edition, London: Printed by the Assigns of Rich. and Edw. Atknis [sic: Atkins], Esquires, for J. Walthoe in Middle Temple Cloysters, OCLC 642325194, page 30:
      [A] Venire facias is the foundation and Cauſa ſine qua non, of a Jury (I mean in Civil Causes; for in Criminals, as upon Indictments, the Justices of Gaol-Delivery, give a general Command to Sheriff, to cauſe the Country to come against their coming, and take the Pannels of the Sheriff, without any Proceſs directed to him; yet Proceſs may be made againſt the Jury, though it is not much uſed. [])
    • 2000, A. Przeworski; M. Alvarez; J. Cheibub; F. Limongi, Democracy and Development, Cambridge University Press, page 34:
      [] whereas some degree of political freedom is a sine qua non condition for contestation, democracy cannot be sufficiently defined in terms of “liberties” []
    Synonyms: prerequisite


Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from Latin [condiciō] sine quā nōn ([condition] without which not).


Portuguese Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia pt


sine qua non (invariable, comparable)

  1. (of a prerequisite) indispensable