Status quo

Status quo

Status quo is a Latin term meaning the present existing state of affairs, or "the state in which". To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they currently are. The related phrase "status quo ante", means "the state of things as it was before."

Political usage

In 12th-century diplomatic Latin, the original sentence was "in statu quo res erant ante bellum" "in the state in which things were before the war". This gave rise to the shorter form "status quo ante bellum" "the state in which (it was) before the war", indicating the withdrawal of enemy troops and restoration of power to prewar leadership, as well as other variations, such as "status quo" itself.

Arguing to preserve the status quo is usually done in the context of opposing a large, often radical change. The term frequently refers to the status of a large issue, such as the current culture or social climate of an entire society or nation.

Politicians sometimes refer to a status quo. Often there is a policy of deliberate ambiguity, referring to the status quo rather than formalizing the status. An example of political ambiguity is the political status of Germany. Clark Kerr is reported to have said, "The status quo is the only solution that cannot be vetoed," meaning that the status quo cannot simply be decided against; action must be taken if it is to change.

Sometimes specific institutions are founded to actively maintain the status quo. The United Nations, for example, was intended to help solidify the peaceful international status quo that immediately followed World War II.

In Israel, the term refers to an informal agreement conducted in 1947 between the secular leadership of the Zionist movement in Palestine and leaders of the Orthodox Jews, which created a framework for the establishment of the country. This agreement lays out ground rules for the relationship between state and religion in four major issues: Shabbat, education, Kashrut, and matrimonial law. It has been more or less maintained throughout the country's existence. It might also refer to the arrangement formalized in 1852 for the division of custodianship among a number of Christian communities for various important Christian holy sites of the Holy Land.

Usage in Entertainment

In episodic entertainment, particularly United States TV sitcoms, the "status quo" is nearly always restored at the end of an episode, giving each episode an effectively self-contained plot or story. This assures that the following episode may begin from the same starting point, eliminating the need for the viewer to have knowledge of prior plot elements or to experience particular episodes in the correct order. This has been an essential rule of nearly all episodic TV shows since their inception, with all drastic changes usually happening in the premiere or finale of a given season, allowing the creative team to set up a "new" status quo. In recent years, however, this rule has softened, as even many sitcoms have started to develop stories and deepen character relationships over the course of a season.

This restoring of the status quo was parodied in the Simpsons episode The Principal and the Pauper where despite the seemingly irrevocable revelation that the school principal Seymour Skinner is an imposter, a contrived ending returns everything to how it was before.


Laurence J. Peter is reported to have said, "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status."

Peter Senge (1999) "...collaboration is vital to sustain what we call profound or really deep change, because without it, organizations are just overwhelmed by the forces of the status quo."

Dr. Horrible "And by the way, it's not about making money, it's about taking money. Destroying the status quo, because the status is "not" quo."

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Status Quo — Основная информация …   Википедия

  • Status quo — (lateinisch für „bestehender (aktueller) Zustand“, eigentlich „Zustand, in dem …“ oder „Zustand, durch den …“) bezeichnet den gegenwärtigen Zustand einer Sache, der in der Regel zwar problembehaftet ist, bei dem aber die bekannten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • status quo — / kwō/ n [Latin, state in which]: the existing state of affairs; specif: the last actual and uncontested state of affairs that preceded a controversy and that is to be preserved by preliminary injunction compare status quo ante Merriam Webster’s… …   Law dictionary

  • Status quo — Status in quo Sta tus in quo (st[=a] t[u^]s [i^]n kw[=o] ), Status quo Sta tus quo (st[=a] t[u^]s kw[=o] ).[L., state in which.] The state in which anything is already. The phrase is also used retrospectively, as when, on a treaty of peace,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • status quo — [ˌsteıtəs ˈkwəu US ˌsteıtəs ˈkwou, ˌstæ ] n [Date: 1800 1900; : Latin; Origin: state in which ] the status quo the state of a situation as it is maintain/preserve/defend the status quo (=not make any changes) ▪ Will the West use its influence to… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Status Quo — im Jahr 2005 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • status quo — 1833, from L. status quo the state in which, hence existing state of affairs. Also status quo ante the state in which before, state of affairs previous (1877) …   Etymology dictionary

  • status quo — Someone who wants to preserve the status quo wants a particular situation to remain unchanged …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • status quo — [kwō′] n. [L, lit., the state in which] the existing state of affairs (at a particular time): also status in quo …   English World dictionary

  • Status quo — Status quo, s. Status …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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