See also: Bowdlerize
Bowdler + -ize; named after English physician Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825). In 1818 he published a censored version of William Shakespeare (The Family Shakespeare), expurgating “those words and expressions […] which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.”
bowdlerize (third-person singular simple present bowdlerizes, present participle bowdlerizing, simple past and past participle bowdlerized)
- To remove or alter those parts of a text considered offensive, vulgar, or otherwise unseemly.
- The bowdlerized version of the novel, while free of vulgarity, was also free of flavor.
- 1909, H. G. Wells, chapter 1, in Ann Veronica:
- Mr. Stanley decided to treat that as irrelevant. "There ought to be a Censorship of Books." . . .
- Ogilvy pursued his own topic. "I'm inclined to think, Stanley, myself that as a matter of fact it was the expurgated Romeo and Juliet did the mischief. . . . All they left it was the moon and stars. And the balcony and ‘My Romeo!’"
- "Shakespeare is altogether different from the modern stuff. Altogether different. I'm not discussing Shakespeare. I don't want to Bowdlerize Shakespeare."
- 1912, Arthur Conan Doyle, chapter 2, in The Lost World […], London; New York, N.Y.: Hodder and Stoughton, →OCLC:
- "Wadley sent a message: ‘The President of the Zoological Institute presents his compliments to Professor Challenger, and would take it as a personal favor if he would do them the honor to come to their next meeting.’ The answer was unprintable."
"You don't say?"
"Well, a bowdlerized version of it would run: ‘Professor Challenger presents his compliments to the President of the Zoological Institute, and would take it as a personal favor if he would go to the devil.’"
- 1961, J. A. Philip, "Mimesis in the Sophistês of Plato," Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, vol. 92, p. 455:
- His critics take alarm only when it becomes apparent that he would bowdlerize Homer and exclude from his state the great tragedians.
- 2014 January 7, Market Chipping, “Why you should read the Madicken (Mardie) books”, in Market Chipping (blog), retrieved 8 March 2016:
- Let me tell you about Madicken. (Mardie in English. Or Meg, but that’s in the American translation and that’s bowdlerized and you should never read it.)
Terms derived from bowdlerize
to remove or alter parts of a text considered offensive