Repair vs reparation

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Repair and reparation are two words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. They are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of repair and reparation, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

To repair something means to fix it, to restore something to a working condition or to restore something that is damaged to a state in which it appears to be new. Repair may also mean to mend a broken situation, such as improving a bad relationship with another person. Repair is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are repairs, repaired, repairing. Repair is also used as a noun. If used to mean the activity of fixing something, then repair is used as a mass noun that does not have a plural form. If used to mean the result of fixing something, then repair is a countable noun, with the plural form repairs. Repairing broken or malfunctioning household appliances involves finding a repairman with specialized knowledge. Washing machine and dryer repair, dishwasher repair, stove repair, refrigerator repair, or heating and cooling repair involving an air conditioner or a furnace require the expertise of various technicians. It is usually best to hire knowledgeable and authorized servicemen who know how to repair your specific brand of appliance, as they are trained in the inspection, repair and maintenance of that appliance and are familiar with troubleshooting problems. Dependable, same day service is offered by many dealers, as well as warranties or a guarantee on parts and labor. Some appliances should have a yearly tune up from a repair service in order to avoid a costly emergency service call. Repair work is also done by an auto mechanic. A good mechanic can diagnose and remedy that check engine light, which strikes fear into the hearts of car owners everywhere. The word repair is derived from the Latin word reparare which means to restore.

Reparation is recompense that is granted to crime victims or others who have been injured. When a criminal is convicted, his victim or victims are sometimes granted compensation for the harm they have suffered. The justice system in most countries considers victims of crime and their survivors to be entitled to redress. People who are victims of fraud are owed compensation for their losses. Workers who are cheated out of wages through labor violations are paid reparation as a punishment to the employer. Reparation in the form of a settlement for damages incurred for a person’s pain and suffering is sometimes paid by a company or institution whose product has been found to be willfully defective. Reparations are paid by a nation that loses a war, as restitution and to compensate for losses incurred by nations that had to defend themselves. The practice of requiring a defeated nation to make reparations or to pay restitution is not as common in modern times. After World War II, the Allies actually infused money into Germany and Japan, building their economies. This new way of treating defeated nations resulted in firm friendships with Germany and Japan, today. Note that reparation refers to an individual case of compensation, while reparations refers to restitution after a war. Both reparation and reparations are mass nouns. Reparation is also derived from the Latin word reparare.


County officials in central Iowa plan to make a 3D scan of a historic courthouse clock tower to study how to repair the structure. (U.S. News & World Report)

Six years after Massachusetts became the first state in the country to pass a “right to repair” law, the coalition of auto repair and parts shops behind that effort is back, relaunching ahead of a push next session to update the law to address advances in car technology.  (The Lowell Sun)

KiwiSaver let him withdraw $38,000 under the financial hardship clause to pay reparation, and on appeal his sentence was reduced to 6.5 months’ home detention. (The Sunday Star Times)

A team set up at the Polish parliament’s lower house (Sejm) to evaluate the country’s war losses with a view to claiming reparations from Germany presented its preliminary calculations on Friday. (The First News)