What Does Reconcile Mean?

The term “reconcile” is a verb used broadly across different fields such as Finance, Religion, Psychology, and everyday life. It has Latin roots, derived from the word “reconciliare” where ‘re’ means ‘again’ and ‘conciliare’ means ‘bring together’. Essentially, reconcile carries the notion of bringing two conflicting elements into agreement, making them compatible or harmonious again.

In daily life, you may often hear the term used in relation to conflict resolution. For example, if two friends have an argument, they might reconcile after a period of estrangement, which means that they set aside their differences and renew their friendship.

In the context of religion, reconciliation often refers to the restoration of a relationship between humans and their divine being. Christians, for example, use the phrase “reconciliation with God”, which points towards resolving the disagreement caused by human sin and getting back in favour with God.

In finance and accounting, reconciliation holds a slightly different, more specific meaning. Here, reconcile typically refers to the process of ensuring that two sets of records (usually the balances of two accounts) match. For example, a bank reconciliation involves matching the balances in an entity’s accounting records for a cash account to the corresponding information on a bank statement. If there are discrepancies, each item will be reviewed to find the cause and make adjustments as necessary.

In the psychological field, reconcile may refer to the process of accepting an unpleasant or difficult situation. For example, a person may need to reconcile themselves with a harsh reality or disappointment, meaning they have come to understand and accept it.

Therefore, the term reconcile could mean different things depending on the context. Generally, it involves making things consistent or harmonious again following a difference, conflict, or inconsistency. Regardless of where and how it is used, the central theme across all meanings is the resolution or the returning to a state of harmony or consistency.