Modus vivendi

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Modus vivendi (plural modi vivendi) is a Latin phrase that means "mode of living" or "way of life". It often is used to mean an arrangement or agreement that allows conflicting parties to coexist in peace. In science, it is used to describe lifestyles.[1]

Modus means "mode", "way", "method", or "manner". Vivendi means "of living". The phrase is often used to describe informal and temporary arrangements in political affairs. For example, if two sides reach a modus vivendi regarding disputed territories, despite political, historical or cultural incompatibilities, an accommodation of their respective differences is established for the sake of contingency.

In diplomacy, a modus vivendi is an instrument for establishing an international accord of a temporary or provisional nature, intended to be replaced by a more substantial and thorough agreement, such as a treaty.[2] Armistices and instruments of surrender are intended to achieve a modus vivendi.


The term often refers to Anglo-French relations from the 1815 end of the Napoleonic Wars to the 1904 Entente Cordiale.[citation needed]

On 7 January 1948, the United States, Britain and Canada, concluded an agreement known as the modus vivendi, that allowed for limited sharing of technical information on nuclear weapons which officially repealed the Quebec Agreement.[3]

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  1. ^ Angus Stevenson (19 August 2010). Oxford Dictionary of English. OUP Oxford. pp. 1139–. ISBN 978-0-19-957112-3.
  2. ^ "United Nations Treaty Collection: Definitions". Archived from the original on 20 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Minutes of the Meeting of the Combined Policy Committee, at Blair House, Washington, D.C., January 7, 1948". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.

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