Insure/ensure?

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saladfiend
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:19 pm

Insure/ensure?

Postby saladfiend » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:05 am

For many years, my understanding has been that "ensure" means to guarantee an event or condition, while "insure" means limiting financial liability (typically through insurance). I've noticed this year (as a 1L) that many judges (including even Justice Kennedy in a concurrence in United States v. Lopez) use the word "insure" for both definitions. What do you make of this?

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MrKappus
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:46 am

Re: Insure/ensure?

Postby MrKappus » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:57 am

saladfiend wrote:What do you make of this?


That you have a lot of time on your hands.

Jk. I make of it that J. Kennedy uses the 2nd definition of insure, which M-Webster online says is "to make certain especially by taking necessary measures and precautions."

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Insure/ensure?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:25 am

"What do you make of this ?"

That his law clerk had a somewhat limited vocabulary.

saladfiend
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:19 pm

Re: Insure/ensure?

Postby saladfiend » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:36 am

It's not just Justice Kennedy though. I've seen this throughout the casebooks.

deathviaboredom
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:21 pm

Re: Insure/ensure?

Postby deathviaboredom » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:42 am

I googled it. I think this is TCR:

According to Associated Press style, to “ensure” that something happens is to make certain that it does, and to “insure” is to issue an insurance policy. Other authorities, however, consider “ensure” and “insure” interchangeable. To please conservatives, make the distinction. However, it is worth noting that in older usage these spellings were not clearly distinguished.

I would personally distinguish them, but it's not lack of education that results in their conflation.

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Insure/ensure?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:04 pm

Oxford English Dictionary cites "ensure" as a one word definition of "insure" under the second definition of "insure".

"Ensure" is defined as "make safe or certain".




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