So I saw this tweet yesterday from @TrafficServices “If you hear someone say they had an accident, laugh and tell them to read this.

The article quotes the dictionary:

According the Oxford Dictionary an accident is described as:
Noun – 1.) an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally. 2.) an incident that happens by chance or without apparent cause. 3.) chance

But then, the author seems to assume that dictionary implies all meanings at once, and argues that because it’s not “without apparent cause” or by “chance”, it’s not an accident. So I’d like to bring another example, straight from the dictionary:

drop – noun 1) a  small  quantity  of  liquid  that  falls  or  is  produced  in  a  more  or  less  spherical  mass;  a  liquid  globule 2) a  decline  in  amount,  degree,  quality,  value,  etc.:  a  drop  in  prices.  3) a  central  depository  where  items  are  left  or  transmitted:  a  mail  drop. 4) a  steep  slope:  a  short  drop  to  the  lake. (There were more. I picked a few to demonstrate the contrast)

You can see that completely different meanings are separated by 1) 2) 3) so the phrase “A drop in prices” has nothing to do with rain, water or any other liquid.

Applying the same concept to the word “accident

When a driver gets distracted and runs a red, it was preventable and predictable that he was going to crash the car, but he did not intend it, nor was he expecting it. I’m sure he didn’t wake up that morning and say “I’m gonna get in an accident today”. That’s why it’s an accident

I accidentally dropped my blackberry” – it can be both preventable and predictable, yet it’s still unintended and unexpected. Therefore, an ACCIDENT

Remember, only ONE meaning at a time, not all 3.

So, Sergeant Tim Burrows, please learn how to interpret a dictionary before trying to teach people how to speak. In the meantime, just stick with writing tickets.

PS “Whoose” is not a word. As a matter of fact my spell-check picked it up.