Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday December 12, 2001
bowdlerize \BODE-luh-rise; BOWD-\
, transitive verb:
1. To remove or modify the parts (of a book, for example) considered offensive.
2. To modify, as by shortening, simplifying, or distorting in style or content.
The president did not call for bowdlerizing all entertainment, but stressed keeping unsuitable material away from the eyes of children.
-- "Conference a start toward loosening grip of violence", Atlanta Journal, May 12, 1999
His tempestuous high school years are touched upon in a delightful scene where the precocious Roy infuriates his English teacher by trying to restore some of Shakespeare's saucier lines to that classroom's bowdlerized study of Hamlet.
-- Herman Goodden, "A Few Scenes in the Life of Roy McDonald", London Free Press, December 7, 2000
Gershwin bowdlerized his original operatic vision of "Porgy," simplifying it for Broadway. In 1976, the Houston Grand Opera, led by David Gockley, revived the original vision.
-- Richard Scheinin, "Gershwin's genius vividly displayed in 'Porgy' at S.F. Opera", Mercury News, June 10, 2009
Bowdlerize derives from the name Thomas Bowdler, an editor in Victorian times who rewrote Shakespeare, removing all profanity and sexual references so as not to offend the sensibilities of the audiences of his day.