Esquire (abbreviated Esq.) is a term of West European origin. In the United Kingdom, it is a title of respect previously accorded to men of higher social rank, but which has since come to be used as a general courtesy title for any man in a formal context, usually appended to the name as in "John Smith, Esq.", with no precise significance. Esquire is cognate with the word squire, which originally meant an apprentice or assistant to a knight. The title "Esquire" has been used continuously since it was created in the late 14th century and many uses continue uninterrupted today. For example, in the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, "Esquire" is the most junior title. In the United States, the suffix Esq. designates individuals licensed to practice law, and may now be used by both men and women.

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