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Censorship Tropes

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"WARNING: The following program is a realish documentary, and may contain language which is vulgar, offensive, or grammatically awkward. Such language has been censored whenever possible, but for the sake of higher ratings, we may have let a few gratuitous and especially titillating instances slide."
Duckman, "American Dicks" opening

Interesting tropes about blanking out things not meant for corrupting sensitive eyes or ears. This index is not about The Content Policy of TV Tropes itself, and not to be confused with Censor.

Compare These Tropes Should Watch Their Language. See also Help! Help! This Index Is Being Repressed!.

Tropes too adult for kids and banned in several countries:

Perps responsible:

General discussion:

Visual techniques:

In-universe, often "conveniently in the way"

  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Depictions of nudity are kept from being too lewd by making it so the naked character has no visible nipples and/or genitalia.
  • Censor Shadow: Nudity is censored by keeping the character's private parts hidden in shadow.
  • Censor Steam: Censoring nudity by covering the body with steam or smoke, also a Bathing Trope
  • Censor Suds: Censoring nudity by having soap bubbles cover up the character's naughty bits, also a Bathing Trope
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: A document that just so happens to have its important parts interrupted or missing.
  • Godiva Hair: A naked or topless woman has the inappropriate body parts covered up by her long hair.
  • Magic Pants: If a character's clothes are destroyed by a transformation, the character will either regrow their clothing when returned to normal or will somehow have the clothes keeping them modest remain intact.
  • Magic Skirt: A woman wears a skirt that covers up her pelvic regions regardless of the skirt's size and what position she is in.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: A woman naked in bed has bed sheets obscuring her breasts.
  • Modesty Towel: A naked character stays decent by wearing a towel, also a Bathing Trope
  • Rainbow Puke: A person vomits up rainbows to make it look less disgusting than actual barf.
  • Scenery Censor: Nudity is censored by objects conveniently placed in front of the characters' privates.
  • Shoulders-Up Nudity: A naked character is only shown from the shoulders up.
  • Stop Motion Lighting: A scene is censored by having it happen in the dark with brief moments of illumination provided by lightning flashes.
  • Thong of Shielding: A woman wears a thong that doesn't reveal too much of her buttocks.

Fourth Wall techniques:

Textual and auditive censorship:

  • *Bleep*-dammit!: The censoring doesn't really do an effective job of hiding the content needing to be censored.
  • The Body Parts That Must Not Be Named: Euphemisms are used to talk about private parts without directly naming them.
  • Censored Title: A work has the title censored so that people can mention the work without having to say bad words.
  • Censorship by Spelling: Can also be used as a Comedy Trope if what's being spelled is an Informed Obscenity or if the person can't spell or comprehend what's being spelled.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: Bleeping out excessive swearing results in a character's dialogue almost being completely bleeped out.
  • Country Matters: Relating to the usage of the C-word, especially between different cultures.
  • Curse Cut Short: Is often used as a Comedy Trope.
  • Gay Euphemism: Avoiding direct usage of homosexuality-related terms.
  • Never Say "Die": Used a lot in American-edited anime and a lot of kids' action shows in the 1970s to the 1990s. These days, a lot of action cartoons in America are trying to be grittier and more realistic by mentioning death [or heavily implying it].
  • Not in Front of the Kid: One character censors themselves or others for in-universe reasons.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Alien swear words.
  • Precision F-Strike: A swear word, usually a stronger one, is used by a character or work to make a point.
  • Symbol Swearing: Symbols appear in speech bubbles to indicate the character is cussing, used primarily in American comic book stories or literature.
  • T-Word Euphemism: Referring to a swear as "the (first letter of swear)-word" so you can mention it without actually saying it.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": Calling someone a "witch" when it would make more sense to call them "bitch".

Other tropes that can involve censorship:

In-universe censorship:

  • Book Burning: Destroying books to destroy free thought.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Covering the eyes and ear of (usually) a child so they won't be exposed to things they're too innocent to know about.
  • Culture Police: Used in fictional works — both comedic and dramatic — to show or satirize what can happen when being politically correct gets out of hand.
  • Political Overcorrectness: Political Correctness is exaggerated to the point of hilarity.
  • Pre-Approved Sermon: A religious sermon that is heavily pre-planned, perhaps by a meddling authority.
  • Profanity Police: A character says a dirty word, but someone else tells him not to.