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Another term that lawyers commonly misuse (see yesterday’s post about deposing), and whose misuse has been adopted by the paid praters, is the verb to redact.  Lawyers typically use it to mean, delete, as in “I redacted the third paragraph because it contained privileged information.” When lawyers “redact” text, however, they don’t merely delete it: they usually blank it out and indicate that it has been “redacted”.

Deletions from a “redacted” document are accordingly referred to as “redactions”.

Redaction and the corresponding verb, to redact, properly have to do with creating or editing a document, not necessarily with deleting anything from it. I first encountered the words in connection with ancient biblical texts and related documents. There is a school of scriptural criticism called redaction criticism, for instance, which compares different redactions of the same text, in order to draw various inferences regarding, among other things, the underlying original (usually lost) or the beliefs of the redactor.

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