"Mend offenses"

Jim Parish jparish at SIUE.EDU
Mon Jul 10 13:47:25 UTC 2006

Reading Joan Vinge's sf novel _The Summer Queen_ (1991), I ran
across the following:
"He was there to mend offenses, to charm and disarm, ingratiate and
manipulate to the best of his ability"

"Mend offenses" only has six distinct ghits. In two cases, the context is
religious, and it may be a fixed form there, but the others range from the
political to the personal. Google Books only gives two hits, one
religious, the other the passage above.

The phrase makes a certain amount of sense on its own, but I can't
help thinking that it's a reinterpretation of "mend fences". Any thoughts?

Jim Parish

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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