Alumnus, esq.

At a series of recent talks I attended, one woman described herself as an alumnus of the college, and another put Esq. after her name.  Is this illiteracy or a blow at gender conventions?  I actually don’t know.

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6 thoughts on “Alumnus, esq.

  1. Thanks. I just looked it up. Should have done that before I posted I guess. I didn’t know Esq. was short for lawyer in this country. (My ignorance of Americanese knows no bounds). Where I come from, any Mr. is entitled to put Esq. after his name, but if you did you’d be a pompous ass. And a Ms. doesn’t do this, both because it essentially means Mr. and because she’s never a pompous ass.

  2. I think that the origins of Esq. are legal, even if in Canada it’s lost that connotation. In nineteenth-century England, at least, “Esq.” meant that you’d eaten your meals and been admitted to one of the Inns — in other words, become a lawyer.

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