Merriam-Webster defines edit as

an instance or result of editing

Google the term "edit meaning" gives the following definition of edit

a change or correction made as a result of editing

Oxford Learner's & Cambridge dictionary define edit as

an act of making changes to text or data

Merriam-Webster's definition and google search seem to suggest an edit is a change. Thus there can be 5 edits in a paragraph. In contrast, Oxford's and Cambridge's definitions seem to suggest an edit is a process so an edit can involve one change or multiple changes in a paragraph.

Is this a difference between British English and American English ? Or could edit be used for both definitions, although perhaps not "interchangeably"?

2 Answers 2


Edit is a countable noun so it can be used either in the singular or in plural form to refer to a single or multiple instances of editing . There is no difference between AmE and BrE usage.

An edit is the process of examining and correcting a text so that it is suitable for publishing.

  • The purpose of the edit is fairly simple – to chop out the boring bits from the original.


  • Editing is the process. An edit is what is made.
    – David
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 6:33

Both, because there is no single way to define what "one change" is.

Suppose I have a paragraph and I insert a single comma. That clearly is an edit (it is a single change)

Suppose I have a paragraph and I correct the spelling of one word (korekt -> correct) That is one edit. Or it is three edits. Both views are valid.

Suppose I have a paragraph and re-write completely. You can see that as one edit as you are only doing one thing many small edits.

Almost any change you make can be divided arbitrarily into smaller changes. So the question of "is this one edit or many" is completely a matter of viewpoint. And you will find many of the truths we cling to depend on our point of view.

So "an edit" can (depending on your point of view) involve multiple changes. There is no significant difference between American and British English that I am aware of.

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