bowdlerize

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bowd·ler·ize / ˈbōdləˌrīz; ˈboud-/ • v. [tr.] remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text or account), esp. with the result that it becomes weaker or less effective: [as adj.] (bowdlerized) a bowdlerized version of the story. DERIVATIVES: bowd·ler·ism / -ˌrizəm/ n. bowd·ler·i·za·tion n.

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BOWDLERIZE, also BrE & AusE bowdlerise. To censor or expurgate a text after the style of Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825), editor of an edition of Shakespeare's plays from which explicit sexual references and avowedly vulgar elements were removed: ‘When The Taming of the Shrew was staged in New York's Shakespeare festival this summer, it was bowdlerised to dilute the bard's misogynist sentiments’ (‘Male, modern, macho’, The Times Saturday Review, 10 Nov. 1990).

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bowdlerize XIX. f. the name of Dr. T. Bowdler, who in 1818 published an edition of Shakespeare's works ‘in which those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family’ see -IZE.

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bowdlerize remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text), especially with the result that the text becomes weaker or less effective. The word comes from the name of Dr Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825), who in 1818 published an expurgated edition of Shakespeare.

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