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Esquire (, US also ; abbreviated Esq.) is usually a courtesy title.
In the United Kingdom, Esquire historically was a title of respect accorded to men of higher social rank, particularly members of the landed gentry above the rank of gentleman and below the rank of knight. In 1826, William Blackstone reiterated that, "the title should be limited to those only who bear an office of trust under the Crown and who are styled esquires by the king in their commissions and appointments; and all, I conceive, who are once honoured by the king with the title of esquire have a right to that distinction for life."By the early 20th century, it came to be used as a general courtesy title for any man in a formal setting, usually as a suffix to his name, as in "Todd Smith, Esq.", with no precise significance. In the United Kingdom today, it is still occasionally used as a written style of address in formal or professional correspondence. In certain formal contexts, it remains an indication of a social status that is recognised in the order of precedence.In the United States, Esquire is mostly used to denote a lawyer, in a departure from traditional use, and is irrespective of gender. In letters, a lawyer is customarily addressed by adding the suffix Esquire (abbreviated Esq.), preceded by a comma, after the lawyer's full name.