The term ‘repair’ can have two meanings. In one sense, the repair can be done to a thing to make it operate more efficiently: to improve, modernize, etc. In another sense, repair can mean fixing something to achieve an improvement in its design, construction, performance or other state. In this article, we will focus on the first meaning of repair.
The verb ‘repair’ is used to refer to the act of improving, making, reconstructing, reviving, etc., by any method of bringing about, restoring, or improving any part of the structure, by the expenditure of money, by the exertion of effort or time, or by the combination of these. In its broad sense, the repair can be done by replacing worn and broken fittings, appliances, parts, machinery, tools, etc. It can also mean fixing a damaged body part so that it functions again. This is just an example of the way repair can include many different actions.
However, the verb ‘repair’ has other senses too. The most common of these is the sense of attempting to make amends, repair the damages caused by an act, correct an error, rectify faults, rectify errors, rectify faults again, fix the deficiencies that you might have created in your production, rectify environmental hazards, rectify faults in machinery while in operation, rectify the imperfections that are a part of manufacturing process, and so on. The dictionary definition of the verb shows us that the present tense form of the verb is ‘to repair’ or ‘to make amends for’. To’make amends’, in its verb form, implies to try to make something right or rectify the situation. To ‘correct an error’, on the other hand, implies to rectify an error in judgment, in planning, in the delivery or the handling of a product, in the production process, and so on.
Repairing means repairing something. Therefore, we can say that the repair consists of correcting errors and rectifying errors. The verb ‘correct’ indicates the action of correcting something and the infinitive form of the verb ‘correct’ indicates the action of correcting. We can also use the words ‘to fix’ and ‘to make amends for’ as verbs of repairing.
Repairing is therefore not merely an action of rectifying or making amends. It is also an action that implies action. We can modify the verb to mean ‘correct’ or ‘fix’. We can modify the verb to mean ‘repair’ or ‘replenish’. This suggests that we can repair not only things that are broken or damaged, but also parts that are defective, in a sense that we can ‘fix’ or ‘replace’ something that is broken or damaged.
In technical terms, repair is the ‘additional’ or ‘substitute’ for something else that is broken or damaged. For instance, you can add a new spring to your car without changing the entire engine. Or, you can replace part of your computer screen without removing it. These actions are considered to be repaired, because they ‘add’ something else that was broken or damaged. Similarly, the verb ‘repairs’ can also be modified to mean ‘adds back’, or ‘replaces’ or ‘fixes’.
In English, however, repairing and improving something involves adding or taking away something that already exists. Thus, we have the verb of repairing which implies ‘to add or take away something existing’. If we want to infer the fact that repairing implies ‘adds back’ or ‘replaces’ something, then we will need to modify the verb to mean ‘to mend, make whole, or put right’. In our example, this implies that, upon repairing the springs, the car can move again.
The etymology of the verb shows that it comes from the Latin word here meaning, ‘to restore, rebuild, or repair’. Thus, repair implies ‘restore, rebuild, or repair’, and ‘abode’ can be modified to mean ‘house, place or building’. Repair can also be used to mean ‘addition, addition, or substance’, ‘improvement, improvement, or addition’. In our example, repairing means ‘making whole, adding back, fixing the spring’. Thus, from the etymology of the verb, repairing can be associated with the idea of improving, adding to, and/or fixing – much like abode in English.