cen·​sor·​ship | \ ˈsen(t)-sər-ˌship How to pronounce censorship (audio) \

Definition of censorship

1a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring They oppose government censorship.
b : the actions or practices of censors especially : censorial control exercised repressively censorship that has … permitted a very limited dispersion of facts — Philip Wylie
2 : the office, power, or term of a Roman censor
3 : exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

Examples of censorship in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the past year, authorities have ordered schools to ban certain textbooks that may violate the law, blocked websites on national security grounds, and revised film censorship guidelines to abide by the law. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 23 July 2021 From a broken health care system to cancer-causing pollution, Internet censorship to religious persecution, the experience of Chinese locals is filled with danger and oppression. BostonGlobe.com, 23 July 2021 And there is always something outside the athletic realm to worry about like a terrorism threat in Athens, censorship in Beijing, Zika virus in Rio (I was vaccinated before those Games, too) and traffic everywhere. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 22 July 2021 Everyone guesses the reasons—censorship or pressure from authorities over critical remarks that crossed a red line. Jane Li, Quartz, 22 July 2021 In October the Supreme Court declined to review that decision, and Justice Clarence Thomas took the opportunity to weigh in on the censorship issue. Allysia Finley, WSJ, 21 July 2021 On LiveJournal, readers could find essays, poetry, and political commentary unhindered by censorship and uninfected by cynicism. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 19 July 2021 Thune’s bill, the PACT Act, would force platforms that accept legal protection from liability to publicly defend the reasons behind their censorship and give users an appeals process. Robert H. Bork Jr., National Review, 14 July 2021 But since the protests began, the country has experienced widespread online censorship. NBC News, 13 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'censorship.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of censorship

circa 1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for censorship

censor entry 1 + -ship

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Time Traveler for censorship

Time Traveler

The first known use of censorship was circa 1591

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Dictionary Entries Near censorship




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Statistics for censorship

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Censorship.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censorship. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for censorship



English Language Learners Definition of censorship

: the system or practice of censoring books, movies, letters, etc.


cen·​sor·​ship | \ ˈsen-sər-ˌship How to pronounce censorship (audio) \

Kids Definition of censorship

: the system or practice of examining writings or movies and taking out things considered offensive or immoral


cen·​sor·​ship | \ ˈsen(t)-sər-ˌship How to pronounce censorship (audio) \

Medical Definition of censorship

: exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

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Legal Definition of censorship

: the institution, system, or practice of censoring — compare freedom of speech, prior restraint


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