Tag Archives: pilots

Esq. and Other Titles

You’ve probably seen the abbreviation “Esq.” fairly often. In fact, it applies only to lawyers, male or female.

Originally, an esquire was a young man (a squire) who was a manservant to someone of higher rank, doing menial chores for that person. Gradually, “esquire” was used for any young man, and at some point it became associated entirely with attorneys. When you see “Esq.” after someone’s name, it’s an attempt to confer status on that person. It’s the equivalent of adding “M.D.” for medical doctors and “Ph.D.” for academics. I’m not sure any of those add-ons are necessary, but that’s just my opinion.

I’ve often wondered about the honorifics given to certain professions. We call someone “Dr. Smith,” but you never hear anyone referred to as “Dogcatcher Jones” or “Pilot Ramirez.” Oh, wait. Pilots are called “Captain.” As my comedic idol George Carlin said, “Who made this man a captain? Did I sleep through a military swearing-in?”

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Filed under All things having to do with the English language