I recently saw a billboard that advertised the Chevrolet Malibu. The caption read: “By definition, an Accord is a Compromise.” Very funny. The ad also puzzled me, because I’d never thought the word “accord” had anything to do with “compromise.”
So I looked it up. In four dictionaries, including the Concise Oxford Dictionary, I found no evidence of “accord” meaning in any sense a compromise. Indeed, it typically referred to harmonious correspondence, or some kind of mutual agreement.
After a little Googling, I did find one site that actually uses the word “compromise” in its definition of “accord.” But that particular sense is based on the interpretation of “accord” in American Law.
If GM were advertising to lawyers, then I’d have no problem with this ad. But since it is clearly targeted at a much broader audience, it seems entirely inappropriate to focus on such a narrow – indeed, technical – sense of the word. And the tone of the ad suggests a definitive statement about the word “accord” that discourages questioning it.
I know I wouldn’t want to live in a country where everyone used language as lawyers do….
I’m not sure what to make of this – except to think that using the narrow American legal sense of a word is a really smarmy thing to do, especially in Canada. Indeed, I’d say this ad definitely qualifies for status in the weasel words lexicon.
Message to GM: go back to grade one and learn how to speak real English, not lawyer-ese. And while you’re at it, stop thinking that Canadians would know or care about American legal definitions.