1 of 2


cen·​sor ˈsen(t)-sər How to pronounce censor (audio)
: a person who supervises conduct and morals: such as
: an official who examines materials (such as publications or films) for objectionable matter
Government censors deleted all references to the protest.
: an official (as in time of war) who reads communications (such as letters) and deletes material considered sensitive or harmful
: one of two magistrates of early Rome acting as census takers, assessors, and inspectors of morals and conduct
Cato the Censor accused Africanus and his senior officers of running an army riddled with moral laxityColleen McCullough
: a hypothetical psychic agency that represses unacceptable notions before they reach consciousness
censorial adjective


2 of 2


censored; censoring ˈsen(t)-sə-riŋ How to pronounce censor (audio)

transitive verb

: to examine in order to suppress (see suppress sense 2) or delete anything considered objectionable
censor the news
also : to suppress or delete as objectionable
censor out indecent passages

Examples of censor in a Sentence

Noun Government censors deleted all references to the protest. Verb The station censored her speech before broadcasting it. His report was heavily censored.
Recent Examples on the Web
Creative types had provocative stories to tell, rousing the wrath of censors—even as congressional committees investigated the presence of Communists in the business. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 24 Nov. 2023 In Europe, some governments have moved to either ban outright pro-Palestinian protests or censor imagery linked to the Palestinian cause, including the Palestinian flag. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2023 China bans foreign social media platforms and censors comments deemed marginally sensitive by the Chinese Communist Party. Chris Lau, CNN, 19 Oct. 2023 This episode and many more were absent from the 1967 Soviet edition of Kuznetsov’s chronicle, which was mutilated by Soviet censors. Anatoly Kuznetsov, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 The drive to challenge, ban or censor books has not only changed the lives of librarians across the nation. Nicole A. Cooke, The Conversation, 20 July 2023 But Israel’s military and civilian authorities, watched over by military censors, are issuing sentences — not pages — of information about what exactly is happening. Ilan Ben Zion, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2023 The publisher’s critics said Scholastic was kowtowing to censors. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 25 Oct. 2023 In addition, censors scrub the Chinese Internet of critical and non-official content about Uyghur labor. Ian Urbina, The New Yorker, 9 Oct. 2023
Some of the content could get censored if the country or foreign market doesn’t want a kiss in it. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Nov. 2023 Instagram and other social media apps have come under some scrutiny over concerns that pro-Palestinian voices have been censored or suppressed. Jason Abbruzzese, NBC News, 3 Nov. 2023 Ron DeSantis’s signature Stop WOKE Act was passed in 2022, gagging teachers and scholars and censoring discussion of race and gender. Samuel Clowes Huneke, The New Republic, 26 Oct. 2023 Employees at companies like Google and Amazon have pushed bosses to take a public political stance, but some say that, internally, calls for a cease fire have been unfairly censored. Gerrit De Vynck, Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2023 In this news/entertainment hybrid, fact-checking is a method of twisting facts and opinion — ways to censor the subject and influence viewers who are naïve about how media work. Armond White, National Review, 13 Oct. 2023 Narendra Modi, of India, has been fêted by Washington, despite abetting Hindu-nationalist violence, revoking Kashmir’s autonomous status, and censoring the media. E. Tammy Kim, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2023 Here's what the world loses Songs and slogans perceived as linked to the protests were outlawed, memories of past protests scrubbed from the internet, sensitive films censored and newspaper editors charged with sedition and colluding with foreign forces. Chris Lau, CNN, 3 Nov. 2023 State and federal prison authorities censor content with little oversight or public scrutiny. Hillel Italie, Fortune, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'censor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



borrowed from Latin cēnsor "Roman magistrate tasked with registering citizens, removing persons from the register whose conduct was found wanting, and leasing public contracts," from cēnsēre "to give as an opinion, assess, appraise, perform the duties of a censor" (going back to an Indo-European verbal base *ḱems- "announce, evaluate publicly," whence Sanskrit śaṁati "declares solemnly, praises," Avestan sənghaitī "announces, names") + -tor, agent suffix


derivative of censor entry 1

First Known Use


1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1882, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of censor was in 1526

Dictionary Entries Near censor

Cite this Entry

“Censor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censor. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
cen·​sor ˈsen(t)-sər How to pronounce censor (audio)
: an official who checks materials (as publications or movies) to take out things thought to be objectionable


2 of 2 verb
censored; censoring ˈsen(t)s-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce censor (audio)
: to examine in order to prevent publication or take out things thought to be objectionable
also : to delete things thought to be objectionable

Medical Definition


cen·​sor ˈsen(t)-sər How to pronounce censor (audio)
: a hypothetical psychic agency that represses unacceptable notions before they reach consciousness
censorial adjective

Legal Definition


1 of 2 transitive verb
: to examine (as a publication or film) in order to suppress or delete any contents considered objectionable


2 of 2 noun
: one that censors

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