Definition of tertium quid in English:

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tertium quid

Pronunciation: /ˈtərSHēəm ˈkwid/ Pronunciation: /ˈtərtēəm/


A third thing that is indefinite and undefined but is related to two definite or known things.
Example sentences
  • Unfortunately, given the interminability of the debate, only a few voices in the book seek to find a tertium quid - that is, a wider outlook that could lift the debate off its current hinges and onto a more illuminative level.
  • Unable to fully reconcile the cases, Justice Scalia said that the trade dress in Two Pesos was either some form of packaging, or tertium quid.


Early 18th century: from late Latin, translation of Greek triton ti 'some third thing'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ter·ti·um quid

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