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We’re “expatriates” (or, more properly, we’re about to be), we’re not “ex-patriots.” We still love our country, but to put “ex” and a hyphen ahead of something implies consummation (or, perhaps, dispatch), like “ex-husband.”

We see the word “ex-patriot” all the time, but it’s usually a misspelling. Usually. I have friends who moved to Canada in the late sixties and never came back. I suppose they’re ex-patriots. Also, there’s Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin, who renounced his US citizenship in order to evade taxes. In fact, Saverin is somewhat responsible for the pending “Ex-PATRIOT Act,” which is a senatorial effort to corral tax evaders (and also a clever acronym). But if you look up “ex-patriot” in the dictionary, it will typically direct you to “expatriate.” Look closely: the spelling’s not even the same.

So feel free to call us expatriates. Just don’t call us ex-patriots.

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