Esquivalience Copyright Trap
The most recent edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) defines esquivalience as "the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities." However, esquivalience isn't a real word. It's a copyright trap, placed in the dictionary so that the editors can know when others are stealing their work. This was reported in last week's New Yorker
. The editors of NOAD admit that they made up esquivalience: "An editor named Christine Lindberg came up with “esquivalience.” The word has since been spotted on Dictionary.com, which cites Webster’s New Millennium as its source." But, of course, if enough people start to use the word, it could become real. I think the most famous case of fake entries in a dictionary occurred in the 1889 edition of Appleton's Biographical Dictionary
. But in that case, the fake entries weren't put there purposefully. (At least, not by the editors.)
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