ADS-L] the meaning of REDACTED

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Sep 14 15:33:42 UTC 2007

FWIW, the Century Dictionary of 1889 has

  "Redact...2. To bring into a presentable literary form; to edit. [']I saw the reporters' room, in which they redact their hasty stenographs.['] -_Emerson_, Eng. Traits, p. 265."

  App. the sense has become more specialized.


ronbutters at AOL.COM wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
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Subject: ADS-L] the meaning of REDACTED

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

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

From: "Baker, John"

> 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
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house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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