Fasten your seat belts… It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary gave United Airlines a free lesson in “English 101” after the carrier forcibly removed a man from an overbooked flight because, as the airline put it, he refused to “volunteer” to give up seat.
“Lookups for ‘volunteer’ are up 1900%,” the dictionary’s digital team tweeted on Monday, along with a link to definition of the word.
“Volunteer means ‘someone who does something without being forced to do it,'” Merriam-Webster explained.
United was a top trending topic on social media Monday after a video showing a passenger being forcibly removed from one of its overbooked flight went viral. The man, a doctor, could be seen being dragged through the aisle with a bloody lip, as fellow passengers screamed in horror.
????Lookups for 'volunteer' are up 1900%. https://t.co/qNAcMyplhZ
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) April 10, 2017
The dictionary has become famous for its clever social media trolling of Donald Trump & Co., though the dictionary claims its tweets are just a response to people’s searches.
Either way, M-W’s definition of “volunteer” flies in the face of United Airline’s somewhat tone-deaf response to the incident.
“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” the company said in a statement Monday morning.
Literally adding insult to injury, the airline’s CEO Oscar Munoz apologized for having to “re-accommodate” its customers.
A quick note to M-W: Seems United may need some help with the words “accommodate” and “apology” too.
I just want someone from United to explain the phrase "refused to volunteer" to me.
— Alt-Thin Brown (@jteeDC) April 10, 2017
— Matthew Kopf (@matthew_kopf) April 10, 2017
United: We're overbooked. Anyone want to volunteer?
Passenger: Im not leaving. United: Thank you for volunteering.
— Mason Isaacson (@jeansandahoodie) April 10, 2017
— 팜 (@2_5pam) April 10, 2017
— Ostroxe (@Ostroxe_Siege) April 10, 2017
— Chris Terrell (@terrellizer) April 10, 2017