Definition: To move to a different legal jurisdiction to avoid legal proceedings. While it usually indicates the legal meaning, it can also simply refer to moving a distance.

Pronunciation: ih-loyn

Origin: Entered the English language in the 1530s from French. In Old French, esloinger  meant ‘to take far’. Eloign has a Latin root – ‘exlongiare’ – to move a distance. Incidentally, eloign and ‘elongate’ have the same root – both referring to a change in distance.

Why This Word:

Edward Snowdon is on the run – a fugitive from justice – a seeker of political asylum. The quondam intelligence analyst has made headlines around the world recently for – shall we say – extending the secrecy parameters on certain sensitive items. The news media has had a field day following his story and his flight from whatever justice process awaits him in America. Ironically, the secrecy surrounding his whereabouts has become as big a fascination as the veil of official secrecy that he tried to lift.

Yet – for all of the media frenzy – they have opted not to use the one word that most aptly describes his current situation: Edward Snowdon has eloigned from America.

How to use this word:

The revival of eloign depends on one or two media outlets deciding to use it for the Snowdon story. Simple as that. If not, then the mantle of the word’s revival rests with Edward himself. Edward – if you are reading this, and your eloignment proves successful, can I make a suggestion for your eventual autobiography? In ten years’ time, I’d very much like to walk into a bookstore and see, on the top shelf, the latest non-fiction bestseller: Edward Snowdon: The Fruits of my Eloigns.


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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