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An anti-Nazi sticker with a disemvowelled slogan

Alternative forms[edit]


Blend of disembowel +‎ vowel.



disemvowel (third-person singular simple present disemvowels, present participle disemvowelling or disemvoweling, simple past and past participle disemvowelled or disemvoweled)

  1. (transitive, sometimes humorous) To remove the vowels from, for example, for the purpose of expurgating offensive words.
    • 1906 September 5, Puck, volume 60, number 1540, New York, N.Y.: Puck Pub. Co., →OCLC:
      By the way, what has become of the conspiracy of Brander Matthews et als to disemvowel the English language? Not that it matters.
    • 1930, Judge, volume 98, New York, N.Y.: The Judge Publishing Co., →OCLC, page xlix, column 2:
      The trick will be in usurping as many vowels as you can, thus disemvoweling the others, and the one with the most words when all or as many letters as possible are used up wins.
    • 1995 October 28, strange days indeed [username], “AA: is that a nerfsword in your pocket, or …”, in bit.listserv.superguy[1] (Usenet), message-ID <Pine.LNX.3.91.951028150058.20293A-100000@sojourn1.sojourn.com>:
      "What happened?" the Amigoid asked. / "D'nt knw," she said. "Jst wk p nd hrd y tw tlkng n thn, sddnly nd wtht wrnng, thr ws ths ns." / "What?" Robotech_Master asked. / "I think I know what happened," Lawrence said. "It must be part of the Silliness that's infecting the Author's Altiverse." / "S wht hppnd? / "You've been disemvoweled," the Amigoid informed her.
    • 2004, Paul Matthew St. Pierre, “Autobiography as Mockery, or Barry Humphries in Mock Turtle”, in A Portrait of the Artist as Australia: L’Œuvre Bizarre de Barry Humphries, Montreal, Que., Kingston, Ont.: McGill-Queen's University Press, →ISBN, page 181:
      Edna [Dame Edna Everage] reveals that she will always outmuscle [Barry] Humphries, disemvowelling his name to reduce it to the interjection "Hmmph!"
    • 2005, Ruth Wajnryb, “Bootleggers and Asterisks”, in Expletive Deleted: A Good Look at Bad Language, New York, N.Y.: Free Press, →ISBN, page 187:
      Another swearing-curtailing device is to allow the taboo word but disenvowel it, so that fuck and cunt become "f-ck" and "c-nt."
    • 2006 December, Douglas K. van Duyne, James A. Landay, Jason I. Hong, “Community Conference”, in The Design of Sites: Patterns for Creating Winning Web Sites, 2nd edition, Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, →ISBN, page 145:
      If someone you've disemvowelled comes back and behaves, forgive and forget their earlier gaffes. You're acting in the service of civility, not abstract justice.
    • 2011, Ronald Comer, Elizabeth Gould, Psychology Around Us, Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 16:
      Back to our Internet trolling behavior, some comment board moderators have tried to control trolling by "disemvoweling," removing all the vowels from the offending comments of trolls. This punishing practice makes troll comments easier to detect and harder to read, and therefore, less likely to generate the kind of outraged response a troll finds rewarding. Disemvoweling punishes the troll and effectively has decreased the numbers of offensive comments and hijacked comment threads on many message boards.
    • 2014, Bjarne Stroustrup, Programming Principles and Practice using C++, 2nd edition, Upper Sadde River, N.J.: Addison-Wesley, →ISBN, page 408:
      Write a program that removes all vowels from a file ("disemvowels"). For example, Once upon a time! becomes nc pn tm!. Surprisingly often, the result is still readable; try it on your friends.

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