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December 2, 2017 Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook
Word of the Week--"Restitution"
Definition--Restitution- n. 1. a returning of something to its original owner 2. a making good of or giving of an equivalent (often times money) in order to make amends for a wrongdoing.

Discussion--The idea of restitution is an interesting one, especially if one looks at the way it is employed in civil law. The original idea behind restitution was that someone who had something stolen or borrowed from them would have the item returned. Now, restitution has come to refer to an evening of the score, not necessarily the returning of something to its original owner. For instance, in a case where a tobacco company is found guilty of intentionally raising nicotene levels to promote addiction, they may be found guilty in a civil court and forced to pay restitution. The restitution will come in the form of a large monetary payout in an effort to make amends for the physical pain that they have caused their customers. It just doesn't seem to even out to me- I would give back 10 million dollars not to have lung cancer.

One of the most well-known and controversial issues of restitution has surfaced in recent years regarding slavery. Leaders in the African-American community are seeking monetary compensation for the two hundred years of slavery their ancestors were forced to endure. The monetary amounts that are being sought were factored by calculating the estimated amount of hours that slaves worked and multiplying that by today's minimum work wage. Even at the minimum wage the totals are staggering. I'm not sure what the right thing to do is in regards to this issue, but I do not think that it should be seen as a frivolous lawsuit. Perhaps some restitution should be paid.

Etymology--Restitution- from Latin restitutionem, meaning a restoring, from past participle of restituere, meaning to restore, or replace (re- again + statuere to set up).


   Foreign Translations
Dutch:  restitutie (de)
French:  restitution (f)
German:  Restitution (f)
Italian:  arestituzione
Spanish:  restitución, devolución

Jane Ellis      Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook

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