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cen·​sure ˈsen(t)-shər How to pronounce censure (audio)
: a judgment involving condemnation
unorthodox practices awaiting the censure of the city council
: the act of blaming or condemning sternly
The country faces international censure for its alleged involvement in the assassination.
: an official reprimand
The lawyer's misconduct resulted in a letter of censure from the judge.
archaic : opinion, judgment


2 of 2


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

transitive verb

: 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
: 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
obsolete : estimate, judge
censurer noun

Did you know?

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."

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

Example Sentences

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
The split on the RNC's censure of Cheney and Kinzinger is indicative of a broader divide within the party that has emerged in the wake of the 2020 election. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 9 Feb. 2022 But committee members decided against calling for such a move, and instead settled on a censure. New York Times, 8 Feb. 2022 The Nebraska Republican Party's State Central Committee is expected to vote Feb. 13 on a possible censure. Grant Schulte, Star Tribune, 5 Feb. 2021 Simmering discontent among a segment of Arizona Republicans over John McCain's famous penchant for bucking his party boiled over in the winter of 2014 with the censure of the longtime U.S. senator. Jonathan J. Cooper, ajc, 18 Sep. 2022 Iran accuses the West of trying to weaponize the IAEA censure, using it as legal pretext to pull out of a future deal. Mostafa Salem, CNN, 10 Aug. 2022 Beyond the censure, Republicans set in motion a rules change rooted in another of Trump’s longstanding grievances. Sam Metz And Steve Peoples, chicagotribune.com, 5 Feb. 2022 Beyond the censure, Republicans set in motion a rules change rooted in another of Trump’s longstanding grievances. Sam Metz And Steve Peoples, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Feb. 2022 Iran’s refusal to cooperate with the IAEA investigation led to a censure resolution this year from the agency’s board of governors. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2022
The Wyoming Republican party on Saturday voted to censure Congresswoman Liz Cheney over her vote to impeach former President Trump. Caroline Linton, Rebecca Kaplan, CBS News, 7 Feb. 2021 The board voted to censure him — one step short of taking away his license. Andrew Ford, The Arizona Republic, 5 Oct. 2022 Successive Iranian governments have said the 15th Khordad Foundation isn’t a governmental entity but refused to censure it. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, 14 Sep. 2022 Crucially, though, Gray has limited room to censure Johnson himself. Boris Johnson, Fox News, 18 Jan. 2022 This decision could mark the end of a decade of users spreading disinformation on social media with few consequences, as platforms were reluctant to step in and censure them. WIRED, 14 Oct. 2022 In February 2021, Eathorne supported a successful effort by the Wyoming GOP to formally censure Cheney. Sara Kamali, The Conversation, 13 July 2022 In fact, in 2021, the Wyoming Republican party voted to censure the lone US representative for her impeachment vote, and later to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican. Se Cupp, CNN, 25 Aug. 2022 Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol. Jeff Parrott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Feb. 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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


1590, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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


Dictionary Entries Near censure

Cite this Entry

“Censure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censure. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

censure 1 of 2


cen·​sure ˈsen-chər How to pronounce censure (audio)
: the act of blaming or condemning sternly
: an official expression of disapproval


2 of 2


censured; censuring ˈsench-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce censure (audio)
: to find fault with
: to express formal disapproval of
censured the senator for misconduct
censurer noun

Legal Definition



cen·​sure ˈsen-chər How to pronounce censure (audio)
: an expression of official disapproval
a House resolution approving a censure of the representative
censure transitive verb

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