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Literature and Ideas

redress

n.

The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

Reparation without satisfaction.

Among the Anglo-Saxon a subject conceiving himself wronged by the king was permitted, on proving his injury, to beat a brazen image of the royal offender with a switch that was afterward applied to his own naked back. The latter rite was performed by the public hangman, and it assured moderation in the plaintiff’s choice of a switch.