cen·​so·​ri·​ous sen-ˈsȯr-ē-əs How to pronounce censorious (audio)
: marked by or given to censure (see censure entry 1 sense 2)
censorious comments
a censorious critic
censoriously adverb
censoriousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for censorious

critical, hypercritical, faultfinding, captious, carping, censorious mean inclined to look for and point out faults and defects.

critical may also imply an effort to see a thing clearly and truly in order to judge it fairly.

a critical essay

hypercritical suggests a tendency to judge by unreasonably strict standards.

hypercritical disparagement of other people's work

faultfinding implies a querulous or exacting temperament.

a faultfinding reviewer

captious suggests a readiness to detect trivial faults or raise objections on trivial grounds.

a captious critic

carping implies an ill-natured or perverse picking of flaws.

a carping editorial

censorious implies a disposition to be severely critical and condemnatory.

the censorious tone of the review

Examples of censorious in a Sentence

The stunt earned her the scorn of her censorious older sister. I was surprised by the censorious tone of the book review.
Recent Examples on the Web The writer Matt Yglesias posted an article from El País about how Twitter, during Elon Musk’s tenure as its C.E.O., has complied with an alarmingly high number of censorious takedown requests from authoritarian governments. Clare Malone, The New Yorker, 13 June 2023 But this was itself a political wish: In a censorious environment, art that was metaphorical and poetic rather than explicit could find more traction. Washington Post, 11 May 2023 Instead of an attack on Congress and an effort to overthrow the election, the story instead becomes one of the persecution of hundreds of patriots simply trying to voice their views and instead of running into a censorious, ruinous cancel-culture mob. Nicole Hemmer, CNN, 8 Feb. 2022 This portrayal of contemporary college students bursting at the seams with a deadly eagerness to take offense, censorious and intemperate, irreverent in the worst ways, and yearning to be a neo–Red Guard with a Tumblr account in no way reflects my own experiences as a TA or a lecturer. WIRED, 16 Nov. 2022 Compounding the uncertainties of doing business in a highly censorious and politicized authoritarian state, the studios have never had control over their own release dates and have been at the mercy of Beijing regulators on all matters of scheduling. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Mar. 2022 The prospect of untrammeled progressive power, particularly with a malleable Joe Biden in the White House, may seem depressing for conservatives or even old-style liberals, who are concerned by the Left’s increasingly censorious and authoritarian bent. Joel Kotkin, National Review, 17 Sep. 2020 In our censorious era, there is something wonderfully unkillable about the old gods and heroes. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 17 Mar. 2023 The internet inside China is infamously censorious, but TikTok has long professed that the Chinese government has no influence over content outside its borders. Drew Harwell, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'censorious.' 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 cēnsōrius "of a censor, severe," derivative of cēnsor censor entry 1

First Known Use

1536, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of censorious was in 1536

Dictionary Entries Near censorious

Cite this Entry

“Censorious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censorious. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

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