Repair: Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Option

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 13, 2022
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Maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) or maintenance, repair, and overhaul involves fixing any sort of mechanical, plumbing or electrical device should it become out of order or broken (known as repair, unscheduled, or casualty maintenance).

Other words that mean the same thing include fix and mend, but let’s focus on the definition of repair.

What is repair

The Many Meanings of Repair in English

When we think of the word “repair,” we often think of fixing something that is broken or damaged. However, the meaning of repair in English goes beyond just fixing something that is wrong. Here are some other meanings of the word “repair”:

  • To clean or smooth a surface: Sometimes, we need to repair something by simply cleaning it or smoothing out a rough surface. For example, if you have a scratch on your car, you might need to repair it by buffing out the scratch.
  • To compensate for something: Repair can also mean to make up for something that is lacking or wrong. For example, if you disconnect your power accidentally, you might need to repair the damage by paying a fee to have it reconnected.
  • To prepare for something: Repair can also mean to get something ready for use. For example, if you are an electrician, you might need to repair your tools before starting a job.

Examples of Repair in Action

Here are some examples of repair in action:

  • If your car is making a strange sound, you might need to take it to a local repair company to have it looked at.
  • If your roof is leaking, you might need to hire a professional to repair it.
  • If your garage door is broken, you might need to repair it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

Phrasal Verbs and Idioms with “Repair”

Here are some phrasal verbs and idioms with the word “repair”:

  • “To fiddle with something”: This means to make small adjustments to something to try to fix it.
  • “To recondition something”: This means to repair something to make it like new again.
  • “To revise something”: This means to make corrections or changes to something to make it better.
  • “To sort something out”: This means to fix a problem or situation.

The Cost of Repairs

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to repairs is the cost. Depending on the type of repair, it can cost anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It’s important to weigh the cost of repairs against the cost of buying something new.

Restoring Something to its Original Condition

Ultimately, the goal of repair is to restore something to its original condition. Whether it’s fixing a broken electrical appliance or correcting a calibration issue, repair is all about making something work like it should. And with the many meanings of repair in English, there are countless ways to achieve that goal.

The Fine Line Between Repair and Refurbish

When it comes to fixing something that is broken or faulty, there are two terms that are often used interchangeably: repair and refurbish. However, there is a subtle difference between the two that is worth noting.

Repairing vs Replacing

Repairing involves fixing a specific fault or issue with an item, while refurbishing goes beyond that and involves restoring the item to its original condition or even improving it. In other words, repairing is about fixing what’s broken, while refurbishing is about making something old look new again.

When repairing something, you are typically focused on fixing a specific problem, such as a leaky faucet or a cracked phone screen. You identify the issue, determine the best way to fix it, and then carry out the necessary repairs.

Refurbishing, on the other hand, involves a more comprehensive approach. You may replace parts that are worn out or damaged, but you also clean, polish, and restore the item to its original condition. This could involve repainting, reupholstering, or even upgrading certain features.

Restore vs Freshen Up

Another way to think about the distinction between repair and refurbish is to consider the end goal. When you repair something, your goal is to restore it to a functional state. When you refurbish something, your goal is to make it look and feel like new again.

Restoration involves bringing something back to its original state, while freshening up involves making something look and feel new without necessarily restoring it to its original condition. For example, you might freshen up a room by adding new decor or rearranging the furniture, but you wouldn’t necessarily be restoring anything to its original state.

Repair vs Renovate: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to buildings and structures, repair and renovation are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there are some key differences between the two.

  • Repair refers to the process of fixing something that is broken or damaged. It involves correcting or substituting components of a product or system that have failed or been caused to fail, resulting in a disturbance in its operation.
  • Renovation, on the other hand, involves making improvements to an existing structure or premises. It may include alterations, modifications, or complete changes to the structure, but the utility or function of the room or building remains the same.

The Nature of Renovation

Renovation, on the other hand, is a more extensive process that involves making changes to the structure of a building or room. It may include:

  • Structural changes: Altering the layout or structure of a room or building.
  • Surface changes: Replacing or modifying surfaces such as walls, floors, or windows.
  • System installations: Adding new systems such as HVAC or electrical.
  • Approved works: Making changes that are approved by local authorities or building codes.
  • Restoration: Restoring the original structure or components of a building or room.

The Importance of Repair and Renovation

Both repair and renovation are important processes for maintaining the condition and function of buildings and structures. Repair is necessary for fixing specific issues and preventing further damage, while renovation is important for improving the utility and value of a building. Whether you need to repair a specific component or renovate an entire building, it’s important to understand the differences between the two processes and choose the right approach for your project.


So, repair means fixing something that’s broken or worn out. It can be as simple as cleaning a smooth surface or as complicated as replacing a component in a machine. 

It’s important to know how to repair things yourself instead of always calling a professional. So, don’t be afraid to try, and remember there are countless ways to achieve the goal.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.