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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
< Late Latin sine quā (causā) nōn without which (thing) not Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sine qua non
  • Nevertheless, in a free society the right to pursue one's own notions of happiness is a sine qua non.
  • The hung parliament, a sine qua non, did in fact happen.
  • But voters' ability to throw the rascals out at regular intervals is still the indispensable sine qua non.
  • Both are sine qua non for citizens to have a decent standard of living and avoid the squalor of poverty.
  • Thus, punishing wrong doers is not a sine qua non for ever lasting peace.
  • For junior faculty members, complaining to each other is a sine qua non of the tenure track.
  • In fact, fit is the sine qua non, the factor that ultimately separates the well-suited candidate from the merely well prepared.
  • It seems foolish to return to a graduate program, unless an advanced degree is a sine qua non for these positions.
  • Keeping one's money actually could be said to be the sine qua non for life, liberty, and happiness.
  • She believed that marriage equality was the sine qua non of the civil rights movement.
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 American Heritage® 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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