bowd·​ler·​ized ˈbōd-lə-ˌrīzd How to pronounce bowdlerized (audio)
: altered to remove or modify elements considered objectionable or potentially offensive
In February PBS advised member stations to air a bowdlerized version of a Frontline documentary about the war in Iraq because the uncut version also had soldiers swearing.James Poniewozik
… like all unexpurgated books it is an improvement on the bowdlerized version, if only because it has more sex.Katha Pollitt

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Not until 1963 was the opera again mounted in Russia, in a bowdlerized version. Dallas News, 21 Oct. 2022 Jefferson was famously the Founder who produced a bowdlerized Bible , and presumed that the future of Christianity would be in a heretical Unitarian direction in his personal correspondence. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 12 Aug. 2012 Yet Brice, knowing all that, still adored him, which makes a far more interesting tale than the bowdlerized one the show offers, of a duped woman finally and regretfully seeing the light. New York Times, 24 Apr. 2022 How did a bowdlerized rendering of a marginal psychological pathology come to hold such sway in the humanities—and increasingly in popular discourse as well? Will Self, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bowdlerized.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bowdlerized was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near bowdlerized

Cite this Entry

“Bowdlerized.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

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