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One passenger said afterward that “kids were crying and people are disturbed.”When asked by a local ABC affiliate about the incident, United Airlines responded, “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked.Until a few weeks ago, I would have said the most important thing about the word accommodate is that it has two “c’s” and two “m’s.” It’s one of those words an editor reflexively checks for spelling whenever it appears, even in other people’s publications.Hospital, hostel, and hotel are all fairly close word cousins, branching from that same Latin root with, historically, some overlap in meaning.Every nation whose people purport to speak English have brought variety and nuance to the language.But accommodate ought to suggest things that “properly fit together,” as John Kelly noted on the Mashed Radish etymology blog.

United Airlines said a man wouldn't give up his spot on a flight.If you've been on a computer or near a TV this week, you've heard about the United Airlines passenger who was violently dragged off a plane after the airline overbooked the flight.The story blew up for two big reasons: Videos captured security roughing up a passenger—who came away bloody—and United's initial response wasn't exactly an apology.The United episode should have been an exchange of one of these for another: “If you can accommodate us by giving up your seat, we can accommodate you on a flight leaving in just an hour.”But when something that starts out as a free-market transaction between buyer and seller ends with a police intervention, it can be hard to remember that the airlines are part of what’s broadly defined as “the hospitality industry.”Was Dao, in a Chicago hospital, receiving “hospitality” – or just medical care? Hospital came into English in the mid-13th century meaning a “shelter for the needy,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.It was borrowed from an Old French word meaning “hostel, shelter, lodging,” the dictionary adds, and its ultimate source is a Latin root, hospes, meaning host or guest.