- To remove 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.
- 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.
abbreviate, abridge, bleach, blot out, blue-pencil, cancel, censor, clean, clean out, clean up, cleanse, clear out, cross out, cut, delete, delouse, depurate, deterge, dry-clean, dust, dust off, edit, edit out, erase, expunge, expurgate, freshen, kill, lustrate, omit, purge, purify, reform, rescind, rub out, scavenge, spruce, steam-clean, strike, strike off, strike out, sweep out, sweeten, tidy, void, whiten, wipe, wipe off, wipe out, wipe up