General English

  • verb to prepare a book for publishing by doing such things as correcting mistakes
  • verb to prepare something such as a film to make it ready to be shown


  • verb to change, correct and modify text or programs


  • To make a change, such as a deletion or a rearrangement, in existing data.

Information & Library Science

Media Studies

  • verb to alter text to make it clearer or more concise, or simply to make it shorter
  • verb to be in overall charge of the publication of a newspaper, magazine or broadcast
  • verb to trim an audio recording down to make it ready for transmission, e.g. to make it more concise or flow better

Origin & History of “edit”

Etymologically, someone who edits a newspaper ‘gives it out’, or in effect ‘publishes’ it. And that in fact is how the word was first used in English: when William Enfield wrote in his 1791 translation of Brucker’s Historia critica philosophiae that a certain author ‘wrote many philosophical treatises which have never been edited’, he meant ‘published’. This usage comes directly from ēditus, the past participle of Latin ēdere ‘put out, exhibit, publish’, which was a compound verb formed from the prefix ex-‘out’ and dare ‘put, give’ (source of English date, donate, etc). In its modern application, ‘prepare for publication’, it is mainly a back-formation from editor (17th c.), which acquired this particular sense in the 18th century. (French éditeur still means ‘publisher’, and the term editor is used in that sense in some British publishing houses.).