Sometimes, TV shows censor people's faces with pixels that hide the details, I am wondering if there's a noun for that, because I am trying to say something in an idiomatic way, but I find it hard without being able to refer to it.

For example, look at this sentence:

They removed the censored part, thereby showing the face of the person who decided to speak in anonymity.

Censored part sounds odd in this context, so is there a better alternative?


When it's done as pixels, we use pixelated and pixelation.

You can write:

  • They removed the pixelation, thereby showing the face of the person who decided to speak in anonymity.

Wikipedia gives "pixelization", but pixelate appears more common.

Many will write "pixelated" even when it would be more correct to use another word (eg I News referring to a blurred image as "pixelated"):

  • blurred out (if the image is made blurry)
  • blacked out (made black)
  • blanked out (made black or white)
  • blocked out
  • masked out (any kind of blurring/rectangle/pixelation which prevents you seeing the face)

So you can have

  • They removed the blurring, thereby showing the face ...

If it is actually censorship and not privacy, you can also write

  • The removed the censoring/censorship, thereby showing the offensive symbol

Very occasionally you see redaction bar Guardian which would be appropriate for both privacy and censorship. You could certainly write

  • They removed the redaction, thereby showing the face ...

"Redaction" is quite a formal word.

  • 1
    Similarly you could say "They uncensored the video, showing their face/the symbol/etc..." – BruceWayne Apr 26 at 3:58
  • Pixelation cannot be "removed". You have to get your hands on an original copy. – Mazura Apr 26 at 10:03
  • @Mazura "Remove the pixelation" is something you'd hear in an edit or suite or broadcast unit, just as you might hear "Remove the subtitles". Of course I agree with you that you can't take the pixelated or subtitled image and recreate the raw image, but certainly people use "Remove X" to mean "Don't add X". – jonathanjo Apr 26 at 13:14
  • @Mazura You would think that, but sometimes it's possible to uncensor badly done censorship. – user253751 Apr 28 at 23:29

You ask if there's a noun for it. There is: pixelation.

So you could say

They removed the pixelation from the face of ... .

You could also use unpixelate or depixelate:

They unpixelated the face of the person ... .


They depixelated the face of the person ... .


They deobfuscated the face of the person ... .

Of course, you can say unpixelated the video, unpixelated that portion of the video that had obscured the face of ... . Etc.

You can search online and find many examples of unpixelate and depixelate.


That type of censoring is called "pixelation" or "mosaic", so you can say "They removed the censoring mosaic...". Or you could just say "they removed the censorship..."

The "censored part" would refer not to the mosaic, but to the face that was being hidden, or possibly the section of the video that contained censoring. This would not reveal the face that had been hidden.

Note that hiding faces in this way is usually about privacy, not censorship

  • 1
    If they "removed the censored part", then they just cut out every part of the video that had [word OP is asking for] in it. – Mazura Apr 26 at 10:10

better alternative: uncensored

Removing a censor is pretty much impossible; the data is lost. Likely what you have is the original uncensored video.

They removed the censored part released the uncensored video which shows the face of a person who had requested anonymity, which was previously obfuscated through the use of [words in the other answers].

  • obfuscated isn't really normal usage here; no-on else has mentioned masked which would work better. – Mike Brockington Apr 26 at 9:31
  • >To obfuscate something means to make it so that it isn't clear or transparent, much like dirty water makes it hard to see to the bottom of a pond. The verb shares its ob- root (meaning "over, completely") with obscure, another word that can refer to the act of concealing something or making it more difficult to see or understand. The rest of obfuscate comes from Latin fuscus, which means "dark brown" and is distantly related to our word dusk. – MW – Mazura Apr 26 at 9:40
  • @MikeBrockington - I suspect you feel that way because you're a programmer. In A/V it's probably called a mask. In layman's terms, hidden would be the best bet in place of obfuscated. As a learner, I might just wonder what sort of tech you have that can remove a 'mask' that they're wearing and digitally reconstruct someone's face. – Mazura Apr 26 at 9:49

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