cen·​sure | \ ˈsen(t)-shər How to pronounce censure (audio) \

Definition of censure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a judgment involving condemnation unorthodox practices awaiting the censure of the city council
2 : the act of blaming or condemning sternly The country faces international censure for its alleged involvement in the assassination.
3 : an official reprimand The lawyer's misconduct resulted in a letter of censure from the judge.
4 archaic : opinion, judgment


censured; censuring\ ˈsen(t)-​sh(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce censure (audio) \

Definition of censure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to find fault with and criticize as blameworthy She would tell him it was … no sign of a good pastor to be eternally censuring his flock.— Charlotte Brontë
b : to formally reprimand (someone) : to express official censure of (someone) While a vote to censure the president has no legal ramifications, it is a significant and rare symbolic vote of disapproval.— Emma Loop
2 obsolete : estimate, judge

Other Words from censure


censurer \ ˈsen(t)-​shər-​ər How to pronounce censure (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for censure


criticize, reprehend, censure, reprobate, condemn, denounce mean to find fault with openly. criticize implies finding fault especially with methods or policies or intentions. criticized the police for using violence reprehend implies both criticism and severe rebuking. reprehends the self-centeredness of today's students censure carries a strong suggestion of authority and of reprimanding. a Senator formally censured by his peers reprobate implies strong disapproval or firm refusal to sanction. reprobated his son's unconventional lifestyle condemn usually suggests an unqualified and final unfavorable judgment. condemned the government's racial policies denounce adds to condemn the implication of a public declaration. a pastoral letter denouncing abortion

Censure Has an Offical Connotation

Censure and its synonyms criticize, reprehend, condemn, and denounce all essentially mean "to find fault with openly." Additionally, censure carries a strong suggestion of authority and often refers to an official action. Criticize implies finding fault with someone's methods, policies, or intentions, as in "the commentator criticized the manager's bullpen strategy." Reprehend implies sharp criticism or disapproval, as in "a teacher who reprehends poor grammar." Condemn usually suggests a final unfavorable judgment, as in "the group condemned the court's decision." Denounce adds to condemn the implication of a public declaration, as in "her letter to the editor denounced the corrupt actions of the mayor's office."

Examples of censure in a Sentence

Noun The country faces international censure for its alleged involvement in the assassination. a rare censure of a senator by the full United States Senate for misconduct Verb He was censured by the committee for his failure to report the problem. a vote to censure the President for conduct that was unbecoming to his office
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While only one other country has faced that kind of censure -- Libya in 2011 after Muammar Gaddafi's forces opened fire on protesters -- Russia has already dismissed the efforts, with Nebenzya vowing nothing will stop the Kremlin's campaign. Conor Finnegan, ABC News, 5 Apr. 2022 The rest are pure Muck — instances of censure motivated by fear. David Thomas, National Review, 15 Mar. 2022 The most consequential element of the censure is a call for the party to no longer support Cheney and Kinzinger as Republicans. Arkansas Online, 5 Feb. 2022 That Representative Paul Gosar forthwith present himself in the well of the House for the pronouncement of censure. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 19 Nov. 2021 All Democrats and two Republicans voted in favor of the censure, and Gosar was stripped of his two committee assignments, reports BuzzFeed News. Summer Meza, The Week, 17 Nov. 2021 But singling them out for censure, in a party that also includes the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, was a serious misjudgment. Nr Editors, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 While all 221 House Democrats voted for censure, they were joined by only two of their Republican colleagues. Kara Alaimo, CNN, 17 Nov. 2021 The vote largely fell along party lines, two Republicans alongside all Democrats voting for censure. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Republican National Committee punished both for their participation; earlier this month, a resolution to formally censure the two passed without any debate or discussion. Harold Maass, The Week, 14 Feb. 2022 Does a resolution to censure one of those members violate the First Amendment? Matt Ford, The New Republic, 2 Nov. 2021 In early November, the House voted to censure conservative Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for tweeting a graphic anime-style video depicting him killing progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. and assaulting President Joe Biden. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, 10 Dec. 2021 Given the extremely partisan nature of Congress today -- in which only two Republican members of the House voted to censure Gosar -- Democrats and Republicans will not reach a necessary consensus to institutionalize new rules. Lincoln Mitchell, CNN, 30 Nov. 2021 Democrats were unified in the vote to censure Gosar, while the only Republicans to vote with Democrats were Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. Michael Lee, Fox News, 19 Nov. 2021 Ten House Democrats signed a statement seeking to censure Gosar (interestingly, the 10 includes AOC’s fellow Squadders Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, but not Ilhan Omar). Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 15 Nov. 2021 Over two dozen Republican officials in Maine formed a caucus after the state's primary GOP voted down an effort to censure Sen. Susan Collins over her vote to convict former President Donald Trump on charges of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, 31 Mar. 2021 By Tuesday, under pressure to take a stand, the Arizona Senate voted to censure one of its own. Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of censure


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for censure


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French censure, borrowed from Latin cēnsūa "office of censor, assessment, moral oversight," from cēnsēre "to give as an opinion, perform the duties of a censor" + -ūra -ure — more at censor entry 1


derivative of censure entry 1, probably after Middle French censurer

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Last Updated

24 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Censure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censure. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for censure


cen·​sure | \ ˈsen-shər How to pronounce censure (audio) \

Kids Definition of censure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of finding fault with or blaming
2 : an official criticism


censured; censuring

Kids Definition of censure (Entry 2 of 2)

: to find fault with especially publicly


cen·​sure | \ ˈsen-chər How to pronounce censure (audio) \

Legal Definition of censure

: an expression of official disapproval a House resolution approving a censure of the representative

Other Words from censure

censure transitive verb

More from Merriam-Webster on censure

Nglish: Translation of censure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of censure for Arabic Speakers


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