Quis

Quis-ego

The cultural convention of quis-ego, found among students in primary and secondary schools in England and other members of the Commonwealth, is a way to distribute free or unwanted goods. A person with something he wishes to give away shouts "quis?" (pronounced "kwis", sometimes "kwiz"); the first person to reply "ego" (pronounced "EH-go") gets it. The words are simply a direct use of Latin vocabulary, the question quis? asking "who?" (i.e., "who wants it?") and the response ego affirming "I [do]!"

When the game is played by children who have not yet been taught the word "quis", it is possible that its use has "filtered down" from older students ; or it may simply be a corruption of a different word. As the teaching of Latin at the secondary school level declines in the Commonwealth, the practice of quis-ego may disappear, although it was still widespread in the late 1980s and early 1990s in schools where Latin was part of the curriculum, and use in the 21st Century has been recorded.

Variants of quis-ego exist. In particular, a modification allows the person replying "ego" to retract his demand by saying "d"; the person shouting "quis" may also declare "no 'd's". A game, then, arises, in which quis-ego is played with a repulsive or otherwise undesirable object.

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