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What is the long word that means "to purify (remove vulgarity) in the text of a literary work"? I have been thinking on it for a while - I used to know it - but forgot.

There is only one word that fits what I am looking for, but the only words that came to mind were proselytization, bastardization, and vernacularization.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Bowdlerize, sanitize or purge could all work in the context you describe.

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Yes yes! Bowdlerization! – Anonymous May 11 '14 at 6:02
+1 for bowdlerize. The other two are more general terms that can be used for this, but bowdlerize hits it straight on the head. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan May 11 '14 at 6:02
Glad to be of help; feel free to accept my answer. :-) – Erik Kowal May 11 '14 at 6:07
Thomas Bowdler published "The Family Shakspeare" in 1807: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bowdler – Wayfaring Stranger May 11 '14 at 7:26

Expurgate works as well.

The editor expurgated racial slurs before publishing the author's work.

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"Olsen's Standard Book of British birds - the expurgated version - the one without the gannet." ;-) – Hugh Bothwell May 11 '14 at 19:59

Historically, a diaskeuasis for removing perceived vulgarity is called a Index Expurgatorius as opposed to the outright ban, or Index Librorum Prohibitorum

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If you have to link to a definition of a word you're using, that typically means you should pick simpler words. "Revision process", for example, would be far less opaque. – cHao May 11 '14 at 18:28

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