See more synonyms for censor on Thesaurus.com
  1. an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
  2. any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
  3. an adverse critic; faultfinder.
  4. (in the ancient Roman republic) either of two officials who kept the register or census of the citizens, awarded public contracts, and supervised manners and morals.
  5. (in early Freudian dream theory) the force that represses ideas, impulses, and feelings, and prevents them from entering consciousness in their original, undisguised forms.
verb (used with object)
  1. to examine and act upon as a censor.
  2. to delete (a word or passage of text) in one's capacity as a censor.

Origin of censor

1525–35; < Latin cēnsor, equivalent to cēns(ēre) to give as one's opinion, recommend, assess + -tor -tor; -sor for *-stor by analogy with derivatives from dentals, as tōnsor barber (see tonsorial)
Related formscen·sor·a·ble, adjectivecen·so·ri·al [sen-sawr-ee-uh l, -sohr-] /sɛnˈsɔr i əl, -ˈsoʊr-/, cen·so·ri·an, adjectivean·ti·cen·so·ri·al, adjectivenon·cen·sored, adjectiveo·ver·cen·sor, verb (used with object)pre·cen·sor, verb (used with object)re·cen·sor, verb (used with object)un·cen·sor·a·ble, adjectiveun·cen·sored, adjective
Can be confusedcenser censor censure sensor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for censor


  1. a person authorized to examine publications, theatrical presentations, films, letters, etc, in order to suppress in whole or part those considered obscene, politically unacceptable, etc
  2. any person who controls or suppresses the behaviour of others, usually on moral grounds
  3. (in republican Rome) either of two senior magistrates elected to keep the list of citizens up to date, control aspects of public finance, and supervise public morals
  4. psychoanal the postulated factor responsible for regulating the translation of ideas and desires from the unconscious to the conscious mindSee also superego
verb (tr)
  1. to ban or cut portions of (a publication, film, letter, etc)
  2. to act as a censor of (behaviour, etc)
Derived Formscensorable, adjectivecensorial (sɛnˈsɔːrɪəl), adjective

Word Origin for censor

C16: from Latin, from cēnsēre to consider, assess
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for censor

1530s, "Roman magistrate who took censuses and oversaw public morals," from Middle French censor and directly from Latin censor, from censere "to appraise, value, judge," from PIE root *kens- "speak solemnly, announce" (cf. Sanskrit śamsati "recites, praises," śasa "song of praise").

There were two of them at a time in classical times, usually patricians, and they also had charge of public finances and public works. Transferred sense of "officious judge of morals and conduct" in English is from 1590s. Roman censor also had a transferred sense of "a severe judge; a rigid moralist; a censurer." Of books, plays (later films, etc.), 1640s. By the early decades of the 19c. the meaning of the English word had shaded into "state agent charged with suppression of speech or published matter deemed politically subversive." Related: Censorial.


1833 of media, from censor (n.). Related: Censored; censoring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

censor in Medicine


  1. The hypothetical agent in the unconscious mind that is responsible for suppressing unconscious thoughts and wishes.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.