The increasingly common misspelling of “expatriate” as “ex-patriot” twists the noun’s meaning in a curious way. While the expatriate is merely living away from his or her homeland physically, the “ex-patriot” has evidently distanced him or herself emotionally. Formerly a patriot, someone whom the dictionary describes as “devoted to and ready to defend” his country, the “ex” has had a change of heart.
But was it an uncaught misspelling that described Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman in the June 3 Sunday Style section [“What lies beneath all his hoodies?”] as “the son of a Swedish mother and an ex-patriot American father (an Army deserter who fled Vietnam)”?
Or did your editor pause, question, then let it stand as correct usage?
Carol McCabe, Reston