Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday November 1, 2000
perquisite \PUR-kwuh-zit\ , noun:
1. A profit or benefit in addition to a salary or wages.
2. Broadly: The benefits of a position or office.
3. A gratuity or tip for services performed.
4. Anything to which someone has or claims the sole right.
In a tight market for skilled labor . . . corporations are increasingly buying homes for hot new hires -- a perquisite once reserved for top executives.
-- Jennie James, "For Many Europeans, There's No Place Like Home", Time, May 8, 2000
It is a shock to find the master, whom we cannot help thinking of as the greatest gentleman in the history of art, regarding petty larceny as a perquisite of office and diverting the wages of sweepers and cleaners.
-- Sir Lawrence Gowing, "Obsessed by Ambition, Saved by Art", New York Times, August 10, 1986
She is dressed in an inexpensive but stylish outfit, impeccably coordinated gloves, hat, shoes, and matching purse--the sole perquisite of her husband's hand-to-mouth pattern-cutting job in the ladies garment industry.
-- Ann Druyan, "A New Sense of the Sacred", Humanist, November 2000
After having long been a narrowly aristocratic perquisite, the opportunity for adventurous cuisine was "democratized" in early modern, increasingly capitalistic Europe, by the spreading quest for upward social mobility, imperial service abroad, and thickening networks of social commerce.
-- Robert Mccormick Adams, "Introduction: Case Histories", Social Research, Spring 1999
Perquisite derives from Medieval Latin perquisitum, from the past participle of Latin perquirere, "to search for eagerly," from per-, "through, thoroughly" + quaerere, "to seek." In Middle English it meant "property acquired by means other than inheritance." By 1565 it had acquired the sense "fringe benefit"; by 1721 it had also come to signify "a tip or gratuity."