Definition of expurgate
- an expurgated edition of the letters
They felt it was necessary to expurgate his letters before publishing them.
the newspaper had to expurgate the expletive-laden speech that the criminal made upon being sentenced to life imprisonment
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expurgate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Expurgation has a long and questionable history. Perhaps history's most famous expurgator, or censor, was the English editor Thomas Bowdler, who in 1818 published the Family Shakespeare, an expurgated edition of Shakespeare's plays that omitted or changed any passages that, in Bowdler's opinion, couldn't decently be read aloud in a family. As a result, the term bowdlerize is now a synonym of expurgate.
First Known Use: 1678See Words from the same year
: to change (a written work) by removing parts that might offend people
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