from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Censorship of literature and performances because of especially broad definitions of obscenity or immorality.


From Anthony Comstock (and the Comstock laws which he propagated) + -ery, coined in an editorial in The New York Times in 1895 and famously adopted by George Bernard Shaw in 1905. (Wiktionary)


  • At its mildest, this balderdash takes the form of the late Hamilton Wright Mabie's "White List of Books", at its worst, it is comstockery, an idiotic and abominable thing.

    Prejudices : first series,

  • In all this dread of free inquiry, this childish skittishness in both writers and public, this dearth of courage and even of curiosity, the influence of comstockery is undoubtedly to be detected.

    A Book of Prefaces

  • "Trilby" is assaulted by the united comstockery of a dozen cities, and

    A Book of Prefaces

  • I have gone into the anatomy and physiology of militant Puritanism because, so far as I know, the inquiry has not been attempted before, and because a somewhat detailed acquaintance with the forces behind so grotesque a manifestation as comstockery, the particular business of the present essay, is necessary to an understanding of its workings, and of its prosperity, and of its influence upon the arts.

    A Book of Prefaces

  • But though the effects of comstockery are thus abominably insane and irritating, the fact is not to be forgotten that, after all, the thing is no more than an effect itself.

    A Book of Prefaces

  • Mormons, the hysteria over the Breckenridge-Pollard case and other like causes, the enormous multiplication of moral and religious associations, the spread of zoƶphilia, the attack upon Mammon, the dawn of the uplift, and last but far from least, comstockery.

    A Book of Prefaces

  • Theoretically, perhaps, many newspaper editors are opposed to comstockery, and sometimes they denounce it with great eloquence, but when a good show is offered they are always in favour of the showman [71] -- and the Comstocks are showmen of undoubted skill.

    A Book of Prefaces

  • In comstockery, if I do not err, the new Puritanism gave a sign of its formal departure from the old, and moral endeavour suffered a general overhauling and tightening of the screws.

    A Book of Prefaces


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.