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

After the stockmarket tumbled, authorities warned journalists against citing the trade conflict as an explanation, according to a directive published by the China Digital Times, a website that tracks government censorship. The Economist, "As its trade tussle with America heats up, China is on the back foot," 5 July 2018 Award scholarships to young journalists who fight censorship and small-mindedness. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Michelle Wolf's truth bombs aren't the only thing America's elite journalists don't get | Will Bunch," 30 Apr. 2018 Some in Iran began using virtual private networks, or VPNs, which allow users to bypass government censorship. Jon Gambrell, The Seattle Times, "‘Halal’ internet means more control in Iran after unrest," 28 Jan. 2018 China also announced censorship of live video streaming in 2016. James Rogers, Fox News, "John Oliver blocked: China's Weibo website clamps down on comedian for mocking President Xi Jinping," 21 June 2018 To the contrary, Xi’s government has only stepped up censorship of the Internet and repression of political dissidents as the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen slaughter approaches. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Xi whiz! Trump is a beacon of hope to world's emerging dictators | Will Bunch," 27 Feb. 2018 Parkland survivors shared their horror during the shooting, expressing gratitude for the president and decrying the censorship of ideas. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Parkland Survivor Sam Zeif Made the Case for an Assault Rifle Ban During President Trump's "Listening Session"," 22 Feb. 2018 But because of Silicon Valley’s liberal bent, companies have been particularly animated by the fear of a conservative revolt, a weakness that in some eyes has opened their platforms to manipulation in order to avoid claims of censorship. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "The Partisan Divide Around Censorship in Social Media," 28 June 2018 In the past, censorship in China was mainly aimed at keeping masses from hot-button issues or sensitive party controversies, which could lead to popular unrest and topple regimes. Shelly Banjo, Bloomberg.com, "Chinese Censorship Makes a Move Into Tech Realm," 6 Mar. 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

11 Sep 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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

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!