And the dictionary company is reminding United Airlines of that very thing after a passenger “refused to leave [an] aircraft voluntarily” when a flight from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked on Sunday.
Merriam-Webster tweeted the following on Monday, the same day that United sparked outrage online after a video showed a passenger being removed screaming from his seat by police officers and dragged off the plane with a bloody face after he refused to volunteer to give up his place.
Merriam-Webster said searches for the word “volunteer” shot up by 1,900 per cent on Monday after the video circulated online.
The company then explained the history of the word “volunteer.”
“It comes from Latin and has been used in English since about 1600, but shares roots with the older word ‘voluntary,’ both going back to the Latin verb velle meaning ‘to will’ or ‘to wish.’”
But Merriam-Webster’s tweet wasn’t the only post to satirize the situation.
This tweet was re-tweeted almost 60,000 times as of Monday night.
This was one of several tweets to compare the United Airlines in-flight experience to combat sports.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Department of Aviation said the incident on the flight was “not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the department.”
The officer involved in the incident captured on video has been placed on leave pending a review, the department added.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement saying the incident is being investigated.
In Canada, there are few regulations that direct how airlines should handle overbookings.
Most airlines in Canada do claim to have the right to remove a passenger for a number of reasons.
Monetary compensation is left up to individual airlines in Canada; there are more stringent regulations in the United States and the European Union.