ADS-L] the meaning of REDACTED

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Fri Sep 14 13:30:07 UTC 2007

I think rhisis what Larry was suggesting yesterday, & it makes sense intuitively to me, but would seem hard to prove. In addition, to the extent that most people see "redacted" only in the context "word redacted," it seems logical that they would conclude that it means "edited out"--especially given that that is exactly what it DOES mean in that context. Most people don't learn most word meanings from dictionaries.
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-----Original Message-----
From: David Bowie <db.list at PMPKN.NET>

Date:         Fri, 14 Sep 2007 07:28:26
Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] the meaning of REDACTED

From:    "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>

> I think it's relevant that "redact" has taken on the specific meaning of
> editing to remove identifying, privileged, or irrelevant information,
> and that that meaning now predominates.  If someone were using "redact"
> as a pedantic synonym for "edit," I would think at this point you would
> need some sort of context to show that the word is being used in an
> unusual sense.  See the discussion from 2004, summarized in Arnold's
> Language Log post at

More vague musing than a serious proposal, but there might could be
something to it: Could "redact" specializing into "*removal* through
editing" be the result of a sort of what might be called an "eggcorn
effect" (i.e., "redact" sounds sorta like "reduct", so they must be

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society -

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