Last Word: Airbrushing Airbrush (n.) – 1876 invention that spreads paint using air pressure which is often employed in the delicate improvement of photographs. Jonathan Worsley, Editor photo: iStock The noun sounds far from sinister, but its verb form is more disturbing. For in recent decades airbrushing has not merely been employed in the world of cinematography to drive unrealistic portrayals of beauty, but it has cropped up increasingly in the political arena. Dictators of the recent past airbrushing out sections of society who did not conform to Communist ideals, had been highlighted by George Orwell. But the idea that democratic Western governments could do the same (post 1984) has often been derided. subscribe now Join today to gain access to the rest of this article and many others. more info login If you are already a subscriber, log in to continue. log in access code If you have an access code, enter it here: Go free trial Get free access for 14 days: Sign up Click here to find out how we take care of your personal data.