ex·​pur·​gate | \ ˈek-spər-ˌgāt How to pronounce expurgate (audio) \
expurgated; expurgating

Definition of expurgate

transitive verb

: to cleanse of something morally harmful, offensive, or erroneous especially : to expunge objectionable parts from before publication or presentation an expurgated edition of the letters

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Other Words from expurgate

expurgation \ ˌek-​spər-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce expurgate (audio) \ noun
expurgator \ ˈek-​spər-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce expurgate (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

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.

Examples of expurgate in a Sentence

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
Recent Examples on the Web Mr. Jang’s name has been expurgated from all official records in the North. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "North Korea Threatens Nuclear Attack as U.S. and South Korea Begin Drills MARCH 6, 2016," 12 Mar. 2016 The movie’s climactic punch line was repeatedly expurgated and reinstated during previews. J. Hoberman, New York Times, "Caught in Family Trees in ‘Where’s Poppa?’ and ‘Papirosen’," 7 Oct. 2016

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.

First Known Use of expurgate

1678, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for expurgate

Latin expurgatus, past participle of expurgare, from ex- + purgare to purge

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Time Traveler for expurgate

Time Traveler

The first known use of expurgate was in 1678

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Cite this Entry

“Expurgate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expurgate. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of expurgate

formal : to change (a written work) by removing parts that might offend people

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