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[kuhm-stok-uh-ree, kom-]
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  1. overzealous moral censorship of the fine arts and literature, often mistaking outspokenly honest works for salacious ones.

Origin of Comstockery

1900–05; after A. Comstock; see -ery
Related formsCom·stock·er, nounCom·stock·i·an, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for comstockery

Historical Examples

  • There it is in a few words—a complete and perfect treatise on Comstockery!

    Mother Earth, Vol. 1 No. 1, March 1906


  • It is no exaggeration to say that Comstockery is the arch enemy of society.

  • Is Comstockery to be our best expression of the most vital matter of existence?

  • His chapters on the psychology of war hysteria and of comstockery are acute and constructive.


    Andr Tridon

  • Comstockery, as we know it, is apparently an organized effort to regulate the morals of the people.

British Dictionary definitions for comstockery


  1. US immoderate censorship on grounds of immorality

Word Origin

C20: coined by G. B. Shaw (1905) after Anthony Comstock (1844–1915), US moral crusader, who founded the Society for the Suppression of Vice
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for comstockery



1905, from Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), founder of New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (1873) and self-appointed crusader against immorality, + -ery. Coined by George Bernard Shaw after Comstock objected to "Mrs. Warren's Profession." "Comstockery is the world's standing joke at the expense of the United States" [Shaw, "New York Times," Sept. 26, 1905]. The Comstock lode, silver vein in Nevada, was discovered 1859 and first worked by U.S. prospector H.T.P. Comstock (1820-1870).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper