Sunday 19 November 2017

Dictionary that trolled Ivanka Trump targets United Airlines over definition of 'volunteer'

Blood drips from the mouth of the doctor as he is dragged off the United Airlines flight
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster has taken issue with United Airlines' definition of the word 'volunteer'.

The airline company came under fire this week after videos posted online by passengers show a man screaming as officers dragged him from his seat on United Flight 3411 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Sunday.

The airline said the flight was overbooked and that they had sought volunteers to leave the plane prior to the incident.

The statement read, "Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation."

However, Merriam Webster took to Twitter to troll the airline and question their definition of 'volunteer'.

The publisher said that lookups for the word spiked by 1900 per cent following the statement.

In a statement on their website they said, "Some of the interest in the definition of volunteer may come from the wording of the statement from United, since a person who did not volunteer to leave was then described as refusing “to leave the aircraft voluntarily”—and subsequently being forced to do it."

They added, "News accounts of the incident made mention of the fact that the flight was overbooked, but, as dictionary people, we also notice that the airline’s statement used overbook adjectivally to modify a noun, a definition that we don’t yet include.

United Airlines is being mercilessly mocked after a passenger was dragged from his seat 

"This use probably shows one way that language evolves: specialized words that are frequently used within an industry sometimes undergo functional shift and may or may not spread to common usage. We volunteer to watch this one."

Merriam Webster previously tweeted the definition of 'complicit' after Ivanka Trump admitted she didn't know what it meant.

In an interview with CBS she said, "I don't know what it means to be complicit, but I hope time will prove I have done a good job and that my father's Administration is the success I know it will be."

The dictionary tweeted the definition: "helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way"

WATCH: Ivanka Trump lampooned by Scarlett Johansson in Saturday Night Live sketch 

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