Bowdlerize: 1: to expurgate (as a book) by omitting or modifying parts considered vulgar
Etymology: Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), English editor
Thomas Bowdler was the editor of The Family Shakespeare, first published in four volumes in 1807. It was edited by Mr. Bowdler's sister; he himself edited the 1818 edition. There were several subsequent editions and reprints; this "version" of Shakespeare was quite popular.
“I acknowledge Shakespeare to be the world's greatest dramatic poet, but regret that no parent could place the uncorrected book in the hands of his daughter, and therefore I have prepared the Family Shakespeare." (Thomas Bowdler)
It is famous as THE "expurgated" Shakespeare, "in which nothing is added to the original; but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read in a family." The word "bowderlize" was invented in 1836 carrying a pejorative sense, meaning to edit out offensive content prudishly.
- Ophelia's death in Hamlet is referred to as an accidental drowning, not a possible suicide.
- Lady Macbeth's "Out, Damned spot." is changed to "Out, Crimson spot."
- Mercutio's "the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon” is changed to "the hand of the dial is now upon the point of noon"