1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amendment
AMENDMENT (through the O. Fr. amender, to correct, from Lat. mendum, a fault), an improvement, correction or alteration (nominally at least) for the better. The word is used either of moral character or, more especially, in connexion with “amending” a bill or motion in parliament or resolution at a meeting; and in law it signifies the correction of any defect or error in the record of a civil action or on a criminal indictment. All written constitutions also usually contain a clause providing for the method by which they may be amended. Another noun, in the plural form of “amends,” is restricted in its meaning to that of the penalty paid for a fault or wrong committed. In its French form the amende, or amende honorable, once a public confession and apology when the offender passed to the seat of justice barefoot and bareheaded, now signifies in the English phrase a spontaneous and satisfactory rectification of an error.