the meaning of REDACTED

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Sep 14 13:37:44 UTC 2007

At 7:28 AM -0400 9/14/07, David Bowie wrote:
>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
Or, as someone else may have once said,

Date:         Thu, 13 Sep 2007 12:48:00 -0400
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Subject:      Re: X marry               ing Y <> Y marrying X?
In context, of course, redaction could involve deletion or
elimination, but that doesn't (or at least didn't use(d) to) follow
from the meaning of the lexical item.  I wonder if the tendency to
restrict "redaction" to contexts of abridgment or elimination is
influenced by the resemblance to "reduction".


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