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The word "esquivalience" was invented in 2000 by Christine Lindberg, an editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary. I've long known that cartographers include made-up streets and other features in their maps, and apparently dictionaries and other reference works do the same. The appearance of such inventions in anybody else's material would be slam-dunk proof of piracy.

The definition of "esquivalience" was said to be "the willful avoidance of one's official responsibilities." If you think I'm letting go of this word, you're wrong.

Ms Lindberg took a French verb, esquiver, meaning "to dodge or evade something," and tacked on an ending that, according to the dictionary's editor-in-chief, "could not arise in nature." Maybe so. But I believe that Ms Lindberg's etymological brain was chugging away nicely when she settled on "alience," because it put "val" into play, and "val" spells "value," which neatly ties the French root to the phoney definition. The esquivalier - rhymes with "cavalier" - isn't just shirking any old thing. He's shirking his official responsibilities.

Now, kiddoes, can you think of anybody who might be deep into esquivalience? Somebody in Crawford, Texas, maybe?

Prince Esquivaliant, we salute thee!

(Read more about "esquivalience" at The New Yorker.)


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Should it Le Esquivalier G. W. Bush, G. W. Bush, Esquivalier, or perhaps something grander? Maybe, G. W. Bush, haut esquivalier grand impérial. Thank you, once again for a light moment in a heavy day, and reminding me that reading the New Yorker is required for balance in life, two maybe three weeks worth remain unopened.

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