How can I override the /etc/hosts file at user level?

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http://unix.stackexchange.com – In short: I would like to know if it is possible to get a ~/hosts file that could override the /etc/hosts file, since I don't have any privileged access. A machine I am working on does seem to be properly configured with a correct DNS server. When I try to ping usual machine name I am working with, it fails. But when I try to ping them by IP address it works as expected. I want to avoid changing any scripts and other musuculary memorized handcrafted commmand line ™ that I made because of a single unproperly configured machine. I contacted sys admin, but they have other fish to fry. H (HowTos)