cen·​sor·​ship | \ˈsen(t)-sər-ˌship \

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

Accusations of conservative censorship have also popped up recently with pro-Trump social media influencers Diamond and Silk, who claimed they've been banned and censored on Facebook. Hunter Schwarz, CNN, "Donald Trump Jr. has a history of incorrectly suggesting Twitter is censoring or blocking tweets," 9 May 2018 There is only so much formal censorship that can go on in a country with robust First Amendment protections. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "The Right Is Worse Than the Left on Free Speech. So What?," 20 Mar. 2018 At the time, there was a broad fear of alienating audiences and losing money – as well as self-censorship. Rebekah F. Ward, The Christian Science Monitor, "How laughter brought more voters to the polls in Colombia," 3 July 2018 In 1934, Hollywood began enforcing its Production Code subjecting motion pictures to censorship review. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 30 June 2018 But an array of nonprofit groups and academics -- some of which receive funding from Google and other technology companies -- have characterized it as censorship. Robert Levine, Billboard, "What a Google Email to News Publications Means for the Music Business," 28 June 2018 The mere use of Rekognition, or similar public surveillance and facial recognition systems, will exacerbate that distrust, and will promote suspicion and public self-censorship in the Orlando metro area. Ryan Gillespie, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Advocacy groups ask Orlando to drop Amazon Rekognition surveillance software," 21 June 2018 Opponents argue that the removal of such content can be regarded as censorship, and limits the public’s access to free information. Rossalyn Warren, The Atlantic, "Should the Internet Forget Italy's Most Viral Sex Tape?," 16 May 2018 The defense center has won several cases against state correctional facilities and county jails across the country on censorship issues, Friedmann said. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "Mecklenburg prisoners can't read this magazine. A federal lawsuit aims to change that. | Charlotte Observer," 26 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of censorship

circa 1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for censorship

censor entry 1 + -ship

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about censorship

Share censorship

Dictionary Entries near censorship








Statistics for censorship

Last Updated

23 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for censorship

The first known use of censorship was circa 1591

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of censorship 

: exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

Keep scrolling for more



Legal Definition of censorship 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on censorship

What made you want to look up censorship? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!