Advanced and Proficiency Vocabulary for Exams(e.g.GRE, Banks, Civil Services, SAT / LSAT). For IELTS/TOEFL, and everyday spoken vocabulary, go to our Spoken Vocabulary Database.
To ‘bowdlerize’ means to remove words or parts of something that are deemed to be unsuitable or potentially offensive. The word is derived from the name of Thomas Bowdler, who achieved notoriety by editing the works of Shakespeare to fit Victorian sensibilities. While popular at the time, his censorship was later roundly condemned. For that reason, this term is mostly used to express disapproval.
I did not enjoy the film adaptation of that novel at all. It had been horribly bowdlerized, so it lacked any of its original impact.
The bowdlerization of my article by my editor infuriated me. She did it purely to appease a vocal minority of political activists.
The politician accused his opponent of bowdlerizing history in order to weaponize it for his own cause.