bowdlerize

play
verb bowd·ler·ize \ ˈbōd-lə-ˌrīz , ˈbau̇d- \

Definition of bowdlerize

bowdlerized; bowdlerizing
transitive verb
1 literature :to expurgate (something, such as a book) by omitting or modifying parts considered vulgar
  • bowdlerize the text
2 :to modify by abridging, simplifying, or distorting in style or content

bowdlerization

play \ˌbōd-lə-rə-ˈzā-shən, ˌbau̇d-\ noun

bowdlerizer

noun

bowdlerize was our Word of the Day on 05/15/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of bowdlerize in a Sentence

  1. bowdlerize a classic novel by removing offensive language

  2. a bowdlerized version of Gulliver's Travels that purportedly makes it unobjectionable for children

Recent Examples of bowdlerize from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bowdlerize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Few editors have achieved the notoriety of Thomas Bowdler. Bowdler was trained as a physician, but when illness prevented him from practicing medicine, he turned to warning Europeans about unsanitary conditions at French watering places. He then carried his quest for purification to literature, and in 1818 he published his Family Shakspeare [sic], a work in which he promised that "those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family." The sanitized volume was popular with the public of the day, but literary critics denounced his modifications of the words of the Bard. Bowdler applied his literary eraser broadly, and within 11 years of his death in 1825, the word bowdlerize was being used to refer to expurgating books or other texts.

Origin and Etymology of bowdlerize

Thomas Bowdler †1825 English editor


BOWDLERIZE Defined for English Language Learners

bowdlerize

play
verb

Definition of bowdlerize for English Language Learners

  • : to change (a book, play, movie, etc.) by removing parts that could offend people


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