cen·​sure | \ˈsen(t)-shər \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from censure


censurer \ˈsen(t)-​shər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for censure

Synonyms: Noun

commination, condemnation, denunciation, excoriation, objurgation, rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reproof, riot act, stricture

Synonyms: Verb

blame, condemn, criticize, denounce, dis (also diss) [slang], dispraise, fault, knock, pan, reprehend, slag [chiefly British]

Antonyms: Noun

citation, commendation, endorsement (also indorsement)

Antonyms: Verb

extol (also extoll), laud, praise

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 to execute the criminal." 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


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


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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While experts say the threat from a small number of extremists is real, Beijing’s reaction is drawing censure from abroad and warnings that the approach risks alienating many Uighurs generally supportive of the government. Eva Dou, WSJ, "China’s Muslim Crackdown Extends to Those Living Abroad," 31 Aug. 2018 And while a previous threat carried by Iranian media drew an immediate government response from censors, this one went by without censure. Jon Gambrell, Fox News, "AP Analysis: Yemen rebel threats to Dubai show danger looms," 31 Aug. 2018 The most vocal criticism from abroad came from Iran and Turkey; censure from either country is more likely a source of relish for Netanyahu than unease. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "For Israel, there’s little political cost to killing Palestinians," 2 Apr. 2018 City officials were mum last night on the specific reason for the censure. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Dayton council censures colleague after allegations from city employee," 17 Apr. 2018 Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the plenary session for his cabinet's censure motion at at the Lower House of the parliament in Tokyo, Japan, September 18. Bill Powell, Newsweek, "How Shinzo Abe Became Postwar Japan's Most Consequential Leader," 29 Sep. 2015 However, others felt that the censure was unwarranted. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Woman with chin tattoo accused of appropriating native New Zealand culture," 25 May 2018 Public discussion of Chinese history is already curtailed by party oversight and the potential censure or dismissal of dissident scholars. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "China Guards Its Historical Heroes With New Law," 27 Apr. 2018 Davis said censure was the only recourse allowed under law for the council. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Dayton council censures colleague after allegations from city employee," 17 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Another 37 officials, including the head of China’s drug regulator, were to be censured or held accountable, state media said. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "China Dismisses Vice Governor, Others Over Defective Vaccines," 16 Aug. 2018 Between censuring campaign reporters for their hot takes based on single polls and predicting election results in late-night primaries, Morris tweets about his undergraduate finals and pulling all-nighters with tubs of ice cream. Tara Golshan, Vox, "How a 21-year-old college senior became the breakout star of 2018 election forecasting," 1 June 2018 Sanford was censured by the South Carolina House of Representatives, but served out the remainder of his second term. Fox News, "Trump says South Carolina Rep. Sanford 'better off in Argentina,' endorses primary challenger," 12 June 2018 While the final stage is likely to be vetoed by at least one member, Poland would still suffer a stigma from being censured. Dov Lieber, WSJ, "Poland Backs Down on Holocaust Bill After International Criticism," 27 June 2018 Katherine Cooley, an assistant to the Citrus Heights city manager, said council members would not make any comments about the resolution to publicly censure Daniels before the open session planned for Thursday afternoon. Nashelly Chavez, sacbee, "Citrus Heights council looks at censuring member Bret Daniels over stalking allegations," 7 June 2018 To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW The advisers all agreed to be censured and to pay a $75,000 fine, but did not admit or deny the findings, according to the release. Richard Webner, San Antonio Express-News, "Biglari company hit with federal fine for lack of public disclosure," 1 June 2018 But for his deceptive, demoralizing and dangerous assault on the FBI - an institution that, like the Army, is dedicated to defending America - Nunes, too, deserves to be censured by his colleagues and stripped of his chairmanship. chicagotribune.com, "Congress should censure Nunes; just like McCarthy," 6 Feb. 2018 The board can discipline teachers found guilty of misconduct by censuring them in minor cases and suspending or removing their teaching certificates in more severe cases. Ricardo Cano, azcentral, "Board of Education drops discussion about punishing #RedForEd teachers over walkout," 22 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of censure


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about censure

Listen to Our Podcast about censure

Dictionary Entries near censure







census taker

Statistics for censure

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for censure

The first known use of censure was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for censure



English Language Learners Definition of censure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: official strong criticism



English Language Learners Definition of censure (Entry 2 of 2)

: to officially criticize (someone or something) strongly and publicly


cen·​sure | \ˈsen-shər \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on censure

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with censure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for censure

Spanish Central: Translation of censure

Nglish: Translation of censure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of censure for Arabic Speakers

Comments on censure

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


to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

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!