Trend Watch



Lookups on Merriam-Webster spiked on November 18, 2010.


Representative Charles Rangel was found guilty of ethics violations including improper fundraising and unpaid taxes.

As this story unfolded, censure was used a couple of ways: as a verb that means "to find fault with and criticize as blameworthy" (e.g.,"The House ethics committee recommended that Representative Charles B. Rangel be formally censured for ethical misconduct"), and as a noun that means "an official reprimand" (e.g., "Censure requires full approval of the House").

Censure comes directly from the Latin word that means "to assess," making it a relative of census.

How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
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