Names or other sensitive information in an official document, or in a previously secret document now made public, are often deleted to protect the privacy of the individuals. It's usually done visibly, with the parts of the text painted over by a thick black line, or by blurring it. I know this practice is called "redacting", even if the word has a different original meaning. I often see "[redacted]" written over a removed part of text.

However, what is the term used if parts of images or videos are hidden. For example, a face of a person in an interview is pixelated to keep viewers from recognizing the person. A technical drawing which might end up in a video is pixelated to keep people from stealing it. A license plate of a car is pixelated, or painted black, etc. Is the word [redacted] used in this case? I'm looking for a single word or a short phrase to print across a part of an image or video which is blanked, blurred, or pixelated intentionally to keep people from discovering any sensitive information. The point is for viewers to recognize that it's not a mistake, but intentional.

"Censored" would be an alternative, but I don't think it fits this situation, as that word is often used for the purpose of hiding details people might find shocking, embarrassing or taboo.

  • 2
    Concealed, protected, screened, blocked? If an image is pixelated it's hardly accidental, people are aware of the underlying motivation for such instances.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 1 '14 at 5:58
  • I'm inclined to suggest "altered". While it may be too broad for describing each of your scenarios, you could use terms like "visually altered" for the corresponding situation. Aug 1 '14 at 6:38
  • BTW here's a phone game, of all things, on the topic! itunes.apple.com/us/app/blackbar/id672002602
    – Fattie
    Aug 1 '14 at 9:18
  • How about "elided"?
    – Hot Licks
    May 24 '15 at 20:38
  • I think the word you yourself use, pixelated, would be apt, though I suppose there is some slight danger that it would be taken as implying that the person whose face is thus obscured is tipsy. ("You better stop drinking--you're getting all blurry!") May 24 '15 at 21:57

Depends on audience and if they need to understand the reason. It also depends on the reason for hiding a part of an image.

Could be: Intentionally Removed or Obscured.

Or use: Restricted.

  • 2
    Good suggestions, I like "Intentionally Removed". "Altered" by dark knight is also good. I really think Restricted is probably best, since you want short. Don't forget simply Secret (if that has the right feel). And finally. In actual government documents, the exact answer is simply Classified.
    – Fattie
    Aug 1 '14 at 9:16

I might be inclined to use the word "Redacted" or "Obfuscated". Redacted actually refers to text not images. Obfuscated is probably the better term. Perhaps you could coin the term, "Digitally Obfuscated". Of course that is two words and you wanted just one.


In the usage I'm familiar with (in California), redacting refers specifically to superimposing a black bar on top of or inking a black bar over whatever is to be censored; physically removing unwanted material from an image or text layout is called excising; and using Photoshop or another image-manipulation program to render words in a still image (such as a credit card number or a person's address) illegible is called blurring. Finally "pixelating" refers to creating a cloud of pixels in place of a sharp image in strategic areas in a video. I'm not sure how widespread adoption of each of these terms is, however.

  • 1
    All of this is true, but the question asks "I'm looking for a single word or a short phrase to print across a part of an image or video which is blanked, blurred, or pixelated intentionally"
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 1 '14 at 6:23
  • I'd be inclined to customize the wording to the particular action I had taken. For example, "Classified information redacted," or "Sensitive data blurred," or "Naughty bits pixelated." The most appropriate wording may depend on what is being hidden and why. That's why I tried to focus in my answer on the names of the different techniques.
    – Sven Yargs
    Aug 1 '14 at 6:56

How about expunged? I have seen it used in similar ways, i. e., printed across a section of a image or piece of text censored for secrecy.

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