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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, 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.)
Categories: Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 06, 2005
Comments (2)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:

Oh and Lt. Columbo's first name is "Philip."

Posted by Splarka  on  Fri Sep 09, 2005  at  02:01 AM
In one of my books, I haven't read it for years so it may be one of my lost ones, there was a discussion of the escape kits put together for aircrews. Included in each kit was a silk map of the area the aircrew would be flying over. The author, one of the British officers involved with creating the entire program, talked about discussing hte maps with Rand-MacNalley(sp) and the person from the map company said that if the British government just used the maps without paying the royalty the company would know because all maps have a deliberate flaw in them. Otherwise they can't be copyrighted was the explanation given in the book if I remember, but catching plagerism is a good reason also.

And if I remember rightly, the willful avoidance of one's official responsibilities is nonfeasance.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Fri Sep 09, 2005  at  08:32 PM
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