semantic drift "officer," "avoid"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Nov 23 15:34:59 UTC 2008

Wrote long ago about a soldier in the film _Idiocracy_ referring to his CO as "Officer Collins."
In the 2008 film _100,000,000 B.C._, a sailor refers to a Chief Petty Officer as "Officer Stubbs."  The correct form of address is "Chief."
Also, from today's Fox and Friends: "...hoping to avoid the Big Three auto makers from having to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy."
I've long heard "avoid" where "prevent" would make better sense, but the effect on syntax in this case is striking.

The American Dialect Society -

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