strong or vehement expression of disapproval: The newspapers were unanimous in their censure of the tax proposal.
an official reprimand, as by a legislative body of one of its members.

verb (used with object), cen·sured, cen·sur·ing.

to criticize or reproach in a harsh or vehement manner: She is more to be pitied than censured.

verb (used without object), cen·sured, cen·sur·ing.

to give censure, adverse criticism, disapproval, or blame.

Origin of censure

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin cēnsūra censor's office, assessment, equivalent to cēns(us) past participle of cēnsēre (see censor) + -ūra -ure
Related formscen·sur·er, nouncen·sure·less, adjectivemis·cen·sure, verb, mis·cen·sured, mis·cen·sur·ing.pre·cen·sure, verb (used with object), pre·cen·sured, pre·cen·sur·ing.pro·cen·sure, adjectivesu·per·cen·sure, nounun·cen·sured, adjectiveun·cen·sur·ing, adjective
Can be confusedblame censure condemn (see synonym study at blame)censer censor censure sensor

Synonyms for censure

Synonym study

1. See abuse. 3. See blame, reprimand.

Antonyms for censure

1–3. praise.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for censure

Contemporary Examples of censure

Historical Examples of censure

  • With an influence so great she had simply said, "Spare of censure this man for my sake."


    W. A. Fraser

  • Wanhope waited for a thoughtful moment of censure eventuating in toleration.

  • Should we not be particularly careful to keep clear of the faults we censure?

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • How often, my dear, have you and I endeavoured to detect and censure this partial spirit in others?

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • It is there one lives exempt from the assaults of censure, detraction, and calumny.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

British Dictionary definitions for censure



severe disapproval; harsh criticism


to criticize (someone or something) severely; condemn
Derived Formscensurer, noun

Word Origin for censure

C14: from Latin cēnsūra, 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 censure

late 14c., originally ecclesiastical, from Latin censura "judgment, opinion," also "office of a censor," from census, past participle of censere "appraise, estimate, assess" (see censor (n.)). General sense of "a finding of fault and an expression of condemnation" is from c.1600.


1580s, from censure (n.) or else from French censurer, from censure (n.). Related: Censured; censuring.

Such men are so watchful to censure, that the have seldom much care to look for favourable interpretations of ambiguities, to set the general tenor of life against single failures, or to know how soon any slip of inadvertency has been expiated by sorrow and retractation; but let fly their fulminations, without mercy or prudence, against slight offences or casual temerities, against crimes never committed, or immediately repented. [Johnson, "Life of Sir Thomas Browne," 1756]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper