amended; amending; amends

transitive verb

: to put right
especially : to make emendations in (something, such as a text)
amended the manuscript
: to change or modify (something) for the better : improve
amend the situation
: to alter especially in phraseology
especially : to alter formally by modification, deletion, or addition
amend a constitution

intransitive verb

: to reform oneself
amender noun

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Amend vs. Emend

The question of whether to use amend or emend is a vexing one for many people, complicated by the fact that the words sound quite similar and have meanings that overlap to a considerable degree. Both words can be used with the meanings “to improve” or “to correct,” but there are subtle differences. Emend is most often used in connection with changes to some form of written material, such as a text or manuscript; while such documents may also be described as amended, amend can apply to improvements or corrections made to things other than writing, as in “he amended his behavior.” The confusion is compounded by the fact that one of the most frequently encountered uses of amend is in reference to a document: the Constitution of the United States.

Choose the Right Synonym for amend

correct, rectify, emend, remedy, redress, amend, reform, revise mean to make right what is wrong.

correct implies taking action to remove errors, faults, deviations, defects.

correct your spelling

rectify implies a more essential changing to make something right, just, or properly controlled or directed.

rectify a misguided policy

emend specifically implies correction of a text or manuscript.

emend a text

remedy implies removing or making harmless a cause of trouble, harm, or evil.

set out to remedy the evils of the world

redress implies making compensation or reparation for an unfairness, injustice, or imbalance.

redress past social injustices

amend, reform, revise imply an improving by making corrective changes, amend usually suggesting slight changes

amend a law

, reform implying drastic change

plans to reform the court system

, and revise suggesting a careful examination of something and the making of necessary changes.

revise the schedule

Examples of amend in a Sentence

The country's constitution was amended to allow women to vote. They voted to amend the law in 1920. He tried to amend the situation by apologizing to me.
Recent Examples on the Web Now the California Air Resources Board is amending the program to align with its plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045. Ari Plachta, Sacramento Bee, 23 Feb. 2024 No matter how difficult, bipartisan buy-in must go beyond stop-gap solutions and expand to encompass repealing or amending decades-old enabling statutes, to privatizations, and to the abolition of departments and agencies responsible for bloated federal functions. Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 Footprint Center reserves the right to amend the above list without notice. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 20 Feb. 2024 Ohio’s secretary of state, Frank LaRose, who is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate, has said that the law applies to every candidate, and that there are no plans to amend it. Emily Schmall, New York Times, 17 Feb. 2024 Again, the Frank founder could amend her complaint to add a claim for entitlement. Luisa Beltran, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2024 Charges for Colvin, Perry and Sanders were amended Feb. 14, according to Haine. Lauren Liebhaber, Kansas City Star, 14 Feb. 2024 And that is what Newsom is trying to amend to place more emphasis on treating the mentally ill or addicted who have fallen through the cracks . George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 The following month, a state senator introduced a bill that would amend the game commission’s regulations to permit the use of drones to recover deer. Hayden Sammak, Outdoor Life, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amend.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French amender, modification of Latin emendare, from e, ex out + menda fault; akin to Latin mendax lying, mendicus beggar, and perhaps to Sanskrit mindā physical defect

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of amend was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near amend

Cite this Entry

“Amend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to change for the better : improve
: to change the wording or meaning of : alter
amend a legislative bill
amendable adjective
amender noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
: to change or modify for the better
: to alter especially in the wording
especially : to alter formally by modification, deletion, or addition
amended the statute
amend the complaint to cure the defect
amendable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on amend

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