To censor or purge a literary work by editorial omission of indelicate or potentially offensive passages, from the early 1830s. . . . inspired by a popular pre-Victorian edition of Shakespeare's "incomplete" works - stripped of overtones of and references to drinking, carousing, and general evil-doing - published in 1818 by the Reverend Thomas Bowdler for use as "family reading." . . . Bowdler, a Scottish doctor who had abandoned a medical practice thirty years earlier because his patients made him "queasy," explained that he wanted to present this material without "anything that could raise a blush on the cheek of modesty."