• emendate •
Pronunciation: i-men-dayt, ê-men-dayt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To correct a text, remove errors from a text.
Notes: English possesses several verbs based on mend, including mend itself, amend, emend, and emendate. Mend means "to repair", amend means "to repair by addition", and today's Good Word means specifically "to correct a text". The abstract noun is emendation and the personal noun emendator.
In Play: The fundamental sense of today's Good Word is close to that of edit: "Molly Spancer-Downe has to reach far more ticklish decisions in emendating the quarterly English Profanity than editors of other quarterlies." However, written texts are not the only ones we may emendate: "You're going to have to emendate your speech before you go on a job interview."
Word History: Today's Good Word was made from the past participle, emendatus, of the Latin verb emendare "to correct, fix", made up of ex "out of" + mendum, menda "fault, blemish" + -are, a Latin suffix. Over the course of time English received the Latin base with two spellings, amend and emend. Later on the A eroded from the beginning of amend and gave us mend. All three spellings acquired their own meaning, so today we have three words. We find the PIE root in several Indo-European languages, for example, Sanskrit minda "defect" and Welsh mann "mark". English managed to acquire another word with this root: mendicant "beggar" from Latin mendicare "to beg", based on mendicus "beggar", originally "cripple". Another word from this root is mendacious, from mendax (mendac-s) "deceitful". (We thank our old friend Lew Jury for recommending today's exceptionally Good Word.)