Redacted Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

In this guide, you will learn all about the meaning of redacted. We won’t omit any details. This guide has definitions, origins, examples, and more.

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When you learn about the definitions of words, you should be thorough. It’s important to learn the accurate definition and any additional definitions that might pop up in conversation. Learning the origin of words can teach you more about how to pronounce them correctly, and you might also learn why the word means what it does today. One interesting word to learn about is the word redacted.

What Is the Definition of Redacted?

According to the United States government, a document has been redacted when confidential or classified information has been removed. According to the dictionary, the word redacted is an adjective. This means the word is descriptive. 

Redacted (adj) can have three meanings:

  • (Pertaining to a document) with sensitive and/or confidential information hidden from view or removed;
  • (Pertaining to images, text, information, or others) having been removed, hidden from view, or obscured;
  • From multiple sources, an item is edited or compiled or when a redaction has been performed.

It is typically a common description in legal documents. Sometimes it is legally necessary to make redactions. At other times, it is simply in a party’s best interest to have redactions made to protect sensitive information or details.

What Is the Origin of the Word Redacted?

Redacted comes the root word redact. Redact is a mid-19th-century word derived from the mid-18th-century English word redaction.

Redaction comes from the French rédaction that came from the Latin redactio. Redactio can be traced to the Late Latin redigere, which meant “bring back.” 

Today, we might rephrase the meaning of redaction to mean “take back” information. Roughly translated, this means that the word’s meaning has not been altered very much over time. It’s always interesting to search the history of a word that has existed for centuries and see that it is relatively undisturbed by the passage of time.

How Do We Use the Word Redacted?

When sections of text in a digital document or parts of an image are redacted, sensitive or classified information is removed or hidden. Some examples of information that might be redacted are:

  • Social security numbers
  • Personal passages
  • Personal data identifiers
  • Financial account numbers
  • Contact information
  • Medical records
  • Secret information
  • Other sensitive information

The redacted sections will not be readable when printed copies of redacted electronic documents are made. The redacted version will allow only the remainder of the document to be read. A marker is often used to cover the text if redactions are made after printing.

Digital documents after adapting redactions may lead to permanent removal of the information. 

According to the Law

It is common in legal matters for documents to undergo editing to redact sensitive information. For instance, the court may authorize a redaction to protect a company’s trade secrets.

The legal counsel may request that certain redactions be made to protect their client during litigation. In criminal cases, at the request of lawyers or prosecutors, redactions may be made to protect the victims’ information. In addition, the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure requires that a court filing redact sensitive information that could lead to identity theft.

In the Government

In government documents, redactions may be made to protect officials, state secrets, and foreign leaders such as the prime minister of another country. A fairly recent example of redactions to a governmental document was when the Mueller report was released to the public after heavy redactions.

It is also common for military documents to be redacted for national security. As a matter of transparency, some politicians will issue public copies of their correspondence. It is not uncommon for sections of the letters of the politician to be redacted for similar reasons.

Sometimes, as a matter of the discovery process, redactions must be lifted or revealed. In this regard, the document will need to be resubmitted in the appropriate form.

What Are Synonyms for Redacted?

Synonyms provide us with various words that mean essentially the same thing. This helps us avoid replicating the same sentence over and over. Discovering these related words can enrich our vocabulary. Here are a few synonyms for the word redacted:

  • Adjusted
  • Amended
  • Improved
  • Updated
  • Fixed
  • Altered
  • Edited
  • Changed
  • Rectified
  • Redone
  • Reworked
  • Rewritten

What Are Antonyms for Redacted?

Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning. Examining words with the opposite meaning can deepen our understanding of a word. Here are a few antonyms for the word redacted:

  • Kept
  • Unaltered 
  • Unchanged
  • Unedited

Examples of Using Redacted in a Sentence

Examples of words used in context can further our understanding of the word’s meaning. Here are a few example sentences for the word redacted: 

  • The document was heavily redacted.
  • The judge allowed the redacted statement to be submitted as evidence.
  • Please have this redacted to protect classified information. 
  • Not much information was left after it was finished being redacted.
  • This will be redacted before it can be submitted as evidence.
  • The redacted document is ready for print.

The Last Word

Hopefully, this explanation of the word redacted and its meaning has left nothing out. With a further understanding of the word, you can use it in conversation and text confidently. You’ll also be able to understand what a person is saying more thoroughly when you hear them use the word redacted in context.


  1. Redaction of Information | US Courts
  2. Redacted Definition & Meaning | 
  3. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure | Cornell