What are the words removed from Roald Dahl’s books?

“Fat,” “ugly,” “crazy” and even “female” — these are some the words that have been controversially scrubbed from Roald Dahl’s famed children’s books by so-called sensitivity experts.

The move to remove or alter references to gender, race and physical appearance in newer editions of the beloved books quickly sparked outrage, with many accusing the publisher, Puffin Books, of censorship.

The revelation was first reported by the UK’s Telegraph last week when the outlet published an extensive list showing hundreds of changes to books like “Matilda,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.”

But the Roald Dahl Story Company, which controls the rights to the books and worked with Puffin to review the texts, downplayed the changes – insisting it wanted to ensure that “Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters continue to be enjoyed by all children today.”

Here are some of the words now removed from Dahl’s books:

Roald Dahl
The move to remove or alter references to gender, race and physical appearance from Roald Dahl’s beloved books sparked outrage.
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The word has reportedly been cut from all of Dahl’s children’s books.

In “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the description of gluttonous boy Augustus Gloop has been changed from “enormously fat” to just “enormous.”

Sentences in “James and the Giant Peach” that previously referred to character Aunt Sponge as “the fat one” and “terrifically fat” have also been removed.


In “The Twits” book, the Mrs Twit character is no longer called “ugly and beastly” – but rather just “beastly.”

The “oh how ugly they were” sentence in “The BFG,” which described the not-so-friendly giants, has also been scrubbed.


A description of the Mrs Jenkins character in “The Witches” has seen the word crazy removed. In older versions, Dahl had written “Mrs Jenkins will go crazy” but it has since changed to “Mrs Jenkins will be furious.”

In “Matilda,” a sentence that previously read “crazy with frustration” now says “wild with frustration.”

The book “James and the Giant Peach” also saw similar edits. A sentence that read “that crazy Glow-worm has gone to sleep with her light on” now uses the term “silly” instead.

Roald Dahl's books
The changes were made to a number of Dahl’s children’s books — including “Matilda”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.”
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In some instances, the word female has also been replaced in various books.

For example, in “Matilda,” Miss Trunchbull — described as once a “most formidable female” — is now a “most formidable woman.”

In “The Witches,” the reference to a “bunch of dangerous females” has now been changed to describe them as “witches.”

Another example from that book shows the term “flood of females” tweaked to a “flood of people.”

Mothers and fathers

Where possible, gender neutral terms are also now being used throughout Dahl’s books.

For example, “mothers and fathers” has become just “parents” in newer versions of “Matilda” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Also, the Cloud Men characters in “James and the Giant Peach” are now Cloud People.

In “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” references to male and females have been scrubbed. The descriptions of “tiny men” and “a hundred women” now just say “people” instead.

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