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If someone has been co-opted into a group, is he or she necessarily a member of it?

Recently, I came across the following usage description:

co-opt
2. verb
If someone is co-opted into a group, they are asked by that group to become a member, rather than joining or being elected in the normal way.

E.g. He was co-opted into the Labour Government of 1964.

(Collins Cobuild Dictionary)

This description does not allow us to infer the person in question was a member of the Labour Government of 1964. Plugging the definition into the above example would derive the following paraphrase:

He was asked to become a member of the Labour Government of 1964.

However, the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines "co-opt" as follows:

1 co-opt somebody (onto/into something)
to make sb a member of a group, committee, etc. by the agreement of all the other members

On the other hand, this definition would mandate the inference that the person was a member.

Which is correct? I've asked the question on another form; however, a user there appears to be incapable of noting the differences.

  • That's interesting. Anyway, it appears you've already asked this question on a different forum. In the interest of minimizing debate and discussion, could you summarize your findings here and explain ultimately why that answer was unsatisfactory? I think it would save our users a lot of trouble if you didn't rehash any points of contention here. – Em. Dec 1 '19 at 2:12
  • In that forum, the answerer appears NOT to have noted the different inferences the definitions allow us to draw. – Apollyon Dec 1 '19 at 2:13
  • My frequent exchanges with native speakers there have led me to find out that not many of them are capable of engaging in mental gymnastics involving definitions. – Apollyon Dec 1 '19 at 2:15
  • Please make any points of contention clear here from the outset (e.g. is the problem "make" again?). – Em. Dec 1 '19 at 2:15
  • You need to clarify the context that you are asking about. The definition that you only partially cite makes clear that there are two distinct meanings. No one became a minister in a British government over his or her refusal to take the portfolio: being a minister is not a judicial sentence. The other meaning, which you do not cite, is usually used to imply that the joining is unconscious or unintentional or perhaps even involuntary. Which use are you talking about? – Jeff Morrow Dec 1 '19 at 3:04
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It is no different from any other way of joining a group.

If you are elected to a council, does that imply that you are a member? Probably but you could always quit, or refuse to take your seat. The same with "co-opt". If you co-opt someone to a council, it is generally assumed that the person you are asking will join. It doesn't prevent them from quitting or refusing to take the seat.

This is no different from saying "We employed John as a programmer". Normally this would imply that John now works for us as a programmer, but John could have quit on his first day, or even never shown up.

This isn't a subtle point if English just a fact of life. You seem to be trying to follow definitions of natural language in a robotic way, which isn't usually helpful.

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1) co-opt 2. verb If someone is co-opted into a group, they are asked by that group to become a member, rather than joining or being elected in the normal way.

E.g. He was co-opted into the Labour Government of 1964.

2) co-opt somebody (onto/into something) to make sb a member of a group, committee, [you of course have to asked] etc. by the agreement of all the other members

These definitions are not antithetical:

The second merely further specifies that all the existing members must agree.

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