Trending: redact,’ ‘redacted

Lookups spiked 4,000% on March 29, 2019

Why are people looking up the words redact and redacted?

Redact and redacted both spiked dramatically on March 29th, 2019, following reports that Attorney General William Barr indicated he would soon have available a version of Robert Mueller’s report, in redacted form.

What do the words redact and redacted mean?

Redact has several possible definitions as a verb: “to put in writing,” “to select or adapt (as by obscuring or removing sensitive information) for publication or release,” and “to obscure or remove (text) from a document prior to publication or release.” When functioning as an adjective, rather than the past participle form of the verb, redacted is defined as “edited especially in order to obscure or remove sensitive information.”

Where do the words redact and redacted come from?

Redact has been in use in English since the 15th century, and may be traced back to the Latin word redigere (“to drive, lead, or bring back, get together, collect, arrange, reduce”).


[Henry Kissinger's Talks with President Nixon; No Transcript; Local Time Approximate; Redacted in Its Entirety]
— (description of entry) Audio File of Telephone Conversation. November 22, 1971DNSA collection: Kissinger Telephone Conversations, 1969-1977

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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