Today's word is point-virgule - OK, its really semicolon, but in deference to the efforts of the French to defend it, we have used their word. The Australian reported on April 4 on a campaign to save the semicolon from extinction "because the media, authors and the French people no longer understand its use." An April Fool's Day joke reported that President Nicolas Sarkozy had created a government commission to save the semicolon, and that in future the mark would have to be used at least three times in all official correspondence. The joke appeared on the French news website Rue89. According to the reporter for Rue89, the President had entrusted a government MP, Benoist Apparu, with the task of saving the point-virgule; the plight of the semicolon was attributed to the spread in France of English styles and habits of expression.
You can read all about the semicolon, as always, in the Wikipedia. For those inclined to use longer sentences, the semicolon is indispensable. For others, essential.
The hidden issue is, of course, how to spell semicolon. I have adopted the style used by The Australian, but of course the hyphenated form semi-colon is also possible in English, as in French.