In the movie Love Actually, the prime minister asks his secretary to redistribute an employee, I think, because he was falling in love with that particular employee, Natalie.

Redistribute Natalie.

I can guess from the context that he wants her away to stop himself from thinking of her all the time, but I can't be sure because I couldn't find an authentic reference in dictionaries. However, I found a similar question online though the answers were contradictory and the context was not exactly what I described.

Does he mean give her a difficult task to do (to get her busier), reassign her, relocate her somewhere (so he can't see her at all) or maybe fire her?

  • I'm not sure how contradictory those answers you found would be. To me, its core meaning would be "move her to somewhere else", but move how? I'm not sure. It sounds a bit like political jargon, IMO. – Damkerng T. Jan 11 '17 at 11:52
  • @Damkerng T one of the answers was give a difficult task based on her skill which I think wasn't relevant at all in this context and the second was simply picking on the sentence and rejecting it as a wrong use of redistribute. Neither actually answered my question. – Yuri Jan 11 '17 at 18:04

I found very few examples online where redistribute was followed by a person.

The plans include a complex formula to redistribute asylum-seekers around the EU from countries facing a huge influx, as Greece did last year. Economist May 5, 2016

I can understand that in this example it means relocate.

In thefreedictionary.com reassign was given as a synonym to redistribute. Give her a difficult task to do or fire her sound the least possible meanings.

  • +1 and another question, do you recommend using this word any way? – Yuri Jan 11 '17 at 23:51

Normally, you would never use "redistribute" to mean reassign a person to another area, but that's what he meant. As you realized, he was falling in love and didn't want to embarrass himself by having to see her on a regular basis. He definitely did not want her fired.

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