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Encyclopedia > Esquire
This article is about the title. For alternative meanings, see: Esquire (disambiguation)

An esquire (abbreviated Esq.) is a person of a certain social status; always rather vague in its extent, the term carries little social distinction today. Nonetheless, its use as a postnominal honorific remains fairly common, particularly in the United States, where it is frequently used by licensed attorneys. Look up Esquire in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... An attorney is someone who represents someone else in the transaction of business: For attorney-at-law, see lawyer, solicitor, barrister or civil law notary. ...


The term is British in origin. Ultimately deriving from the mediaeval squires who assisted knights, the term came to be used automatically by men of gentle birth. Thus use of the word postnominally represented nothing more than the claim to be a gentleman. More specifically, though, a distinction was made between men of the upper and lower gentry, who were "esquires" and "gentlemen" respectively (between, for example, "Thomas Smith, Esq." and "William Jones, Gent."). A late example of this distinction is in the list of subscribers to The History of Elton, by the Rev. Rose Fuller Whistler, published in 1882, which clearly distinguishes between subscribers designated "Mr" (another way of indicating gentlemen) and those allowed "Esquire." For other uses, see Squire (disambiguation). ... A statue of an armoured knight of the Middle Ages For the chess piece, see knight (chess). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Gentleman (disambiguation). ... Mister or mister can be:- The full spelling (rarely used) of the title Mr. ...


Today by general consent anybody may consider himself a gentleman; that status is no longer limited to an elite few. So likewise the boundary between esquire and gentleman has disappeared. Thus, practically speaking, the term "esquire" may be appended to the name of any man not possessing a higher title (such as that of knighthood or peerage) or a clerical one. In practice, however, "esquire" in the US is most commonly used by lawyers in a professional capacity; it has come to be associated by many Americans solely with the legal profession. A statue of an armoured knight of the Middle Ages For the chess piece, see knight (chess). ... For other uses, see Peerage (disambiguation). ... For information on the type of fish called Lawyer, see the article on Burbot. ...


To whomever it is applied, the term "Esq." should not be used when talking about one's self, or in directly addressing somebody else. Rather, it is used in third-person contexts, such as envelope addresses.


Origins and later British usage

In eras when great importance was attached to social status, tables of precedence were drawn to determine its precise hierarchy. Beginning with royalty and continuing down through officers of state, church dignitaries, the nobility, and knights, they invariably concluded with common or garden Esquires and Gentlemen, in that order. (It was presumed that everybody at a social event where precedence was relevant would be at least a gentleman.) Until the 19th century, tables of precedences further distinguished between "esquires by birth" and "esquires by office" (and likewise for "gentlemen").[citation needed] An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of people; it is used by many organizations and governments. ...


But the precise limits of these vague terms were never easy to determine. Some authors attempted to draw up guidelines distinguishing "esquires" from "gentlemen".


According to one typical definition[citation needed], esquires included:

However, formal definitions such as these were proposed because there was, in reality, no fixed criterion distinguishing those designated 'Esquire': it was essentially a matter of impression as to whether a person qualified for this status. William Segar, Garter King of Arms (the senior officer of arms at the College of Arms), wrote in 1602: "And who so can make proofe, that his Ancestors or himselfe, have had Armes, or can procure them by purchase, may be called Armiger or Esquier." Honor military, and civill (1602; lib. 4, cap. 15, p. 228). (By Armes he referred to a coat of arms; it is not clear from this quotation whether Segar made a distinction between esquires and gentlemen.) For other uses, see Knight (disambiguation) or Knights (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Peerage (disambiguation). ... This article is about the monarchy of the United Kingdom, one of sixteen that share a common monarch; for information about this constitutional relationship, see Commonwealth realm; for information on the reigning monarch, see Elizabeth II. For information about other Commonwealth realm monarchies, as well as other relevant articles, see... Look up Sheriff in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A justice of the peace (JP) is a puisne judicial officer appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. ... Schematic of court system for England and Wales The Courts of England and Wales are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales; they are constituted and governed by the Law of England and Wales and are subordinate to the Parliament of the... Schematic of court system for England and Wales The Courts of England and Wales are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales; they are constituted and governed by the Law of England and Wales and are subordinate to the Parliament of the... Flag of a Lord Lieutenant The title Lord Lieutenant is given to the British monarchs personal representatives around the United Kingdom, usually in a county or similar circumscription, with varying tasks throughout history. ... For information about The Times satire Queens Counsel, see Queens Counsel (comic strip). ... // Artists impression of an English and Irish barrister A barrister is a lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions which employ a split profession (as opposed to a fused profession) in relation to legal representation. ... The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University), located in the city of Oxford, England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... Serjeant-at-law is an obsolete order of barristers at the English or Irish bar. ... The Royal Academy of Arts is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly, London, England. ... An officer is a member of a military, naval, or if applicable, other uniformed services who holds a position of responsibility. ... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ... Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. ... Captain is a rank or title with various meanings. ... RAF redirects here. ... A Flight Lieutenants sleeve/shoulder insignia Flight Lieutenant (abbreviated as Flt Lt and pronounced as flight lef-tenant, see Lieutenant) is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries. ... A bachelors degree is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts for three, four, or in some cases and countries, five or six years. ... For other uses, see Divinity (disambiguation) and Divine (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... For the chemical substances known as medicines, see medication. ... This article is about the monarchy of the United Kingdom, one of sixteen that share a common monarch; for information about this constitutional relationship, see Commonwealth realm; for information on the reigning monarch, see Elizabeth II. For information about other Commonwealth realm monarchies, as well as other relevant articles, see... This article is about the monarchy of the United Kingdom, one of sixteen that share a common monarch; for information about this constitutional relationship, see Commonwealth realm; for information on the reigning monarch, see Elizabeth II. For information about other Commonwealth realm monarchies, as well as other relevant articles, see... Nobility is a traditional hereditary status (see hereditary titles) that exists today in many countries (mainly present or former monarchies). ... The Colleges own coat of arms was granted in 1484. ... Banners bearing heraldic badges of several officers of arms at the College of Arms in London. ... The entrance of the College of Arms. ... A modern coat of arms is derived from the medi val practice of painting designs onto the shield and outer clothing of knights to enable them to be identified in battle, and later in tournaments. ...


The breadth of Esquire (as Esq.) had become universal in the United Kingdom by the late 20th century, for example being applied by some banks to all men who did not have a grander title. Although the College of Arms continues to restrict use of the word Esquire in official grants of arms to a limited set (smaller even than that outlined by the list above), it uses the term Esquire without restriction in addressing correspondence. Many people in the United Kingdom no longer perceive any distinction between "Mr" and "Esquire" at all and so, for practical purposes and in everyday usage, there is no such distinction. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... The entrance of the College of Arms. ...


Although 'Esquire' is the English translation of the French 'Ecuyer', the latter indicated legal membership in the nobilities of ancien régime France and contemporaneous Belgium, whereas an esquire belongs to the British gentry rather than to its nobility. Ancien Régime, a French term meaning Former Regime, but rendered in English as Old Rule, Old Order, or simply Old Regime, refers primarily to the aristocratic social and political system established in France under the Valois and Bourbon dynasties. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Nobility is a traditional hereditary status (see hereditary titles) that exists today in many countries (mainly present or former monarchies). ...


United States

In the United States the suffix "Esq." is most commonly encountered in use among individuals licensed to practice law. They sometimes apply it to anybody with a law degree, even if not practicing. Although the origins and traditional usage of "esquire" limited its application to men, this more recent usage is frequently applied to both male and female lawyers.


As a matter of custom, the suffix "Esq." is not used when referring to sitting judges, who are "members of the bench" rather than "members of the bar", and are prohibited from practicing law in most United States jurisdictions. (The fictional Perry Mason, in his television movies, was a notable exception.) Judges will generally assume the prefix "Honorable" (abbreviated Hon.) as a title of respect. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Perry Mason is a fictional defense attorney who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. ... The prefix The Honourable or The Honorable ( or formerly The Honble) is a title of quality attached to the names of certain classes of persons. ...


The prevalence of "esquire" among lawyers in America is perhaps an echo of its use distinguishing the two kinds of lawyer in English law — barristers were "esquires" while solicitors were simple "gentlemen". // Artists impression of an English and Irish barrister A barrister is a lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions which employ a split profession (as opposed to a fused profession) in relation to legal representation. ... In the United Kingdom and countries having a similar legal system the legal profession is divided into two kinds of lawyers: the solicitors who contact and advise clients, and barristers who argue cases in court. ...


These legal associations, although strong, have not completely blotted out the unmarked use of "esquire" in the modern British fashion, as an honorific simply more formal than "Mr". In some states, however, using the term deceptively — in a manner that might lead others to assume you are licensed to practice law in that state — can be used as one piece of evidence of unauthorized practice of law.[1]


The term is also sometimes used when addressing naval officers in formal correspondence.


As a form of address, "Esq." is never used with any prenominal form of address, such as Dr. or Mr., nor used in the first person to refer to oneself. It is used only when the reference is in the third person, such as addressing an envelope or making a formal introduction. When addressing a person who has an academic degree or other post-nominal professional designation, such as a Certified Public Accountant, a writer may use the post-nominal designation after the "Esq." For example, an attorney who is also an accountant could be addressed as "James A. Smith, Esq., CPA." Likewise, an attorney who is a Doctor of Medicine could be styled as "Dr. Samuel B. Jones," or "Samuel B. Jones, Esq., M.D.," or if a holder of both degrees (some states do not require attorneys to hold a J.D. degree in order to practice law), Samuel B. Jones, M.D., J.D., when referred to in the third person, but never "Dr. Samuel B. Jones, Esq."[2] This article is about the use and history of doctor as a title. ... Mister, usually abbreviated to Mr. ... Certified Accountant redirects here. ... Doctor of Medicine (M.D. or MD, from the Latin Medicinae Doctor meaning Teacher of Medicine,) is an academic degree for medical doctors. ...


Some fraternal groups use the title of "Esquire." The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks uses the title of "Esquire" for an appointed office position[3]. One appendant body in Freemasonry also uses "Esquire" as a degree title[4]. Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Grand Lodge in Chicago, Illinois The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks had modest beginnings in 1868 as a social club (then called the Jolly Corks) established as a private club to elude New York City laws governing the opening hours of public taverns. ... American Square & Compasses Freemasonry is a worldwide fraternal organization. ...


References

  1. ^ Ex. Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona, Rule 31(a)(2)(B)(2).
  2. ^ http://emilypost.com/everyday/Forms_of_Address_Chart.pdf
  3. ^ http://austinelks.com/esquire.html
  4. ^ http://www.kingsolomonslodge.org/freemasonry/york-allied.php

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