[ sen-suh s ]
/ ˈsɛn səs /

noun, plural cen·sus·es.

an official enumeration of the population, with details as to age, sex, occupation, etc.
(in ancient Rome) the registration of citizens and their property, for purposes of taxation.

verb (used with object)

to take a census of (a country, city, etc.): The entire nation is censused every 10 years.

Nearby words

  1. censoriously,
  2. censorship,
  3. censual,
  4. censurable,
  5. censure,
  6. census taker,
  7. census tract,
  8. cent,
  9. cent sign,
  10. cent-

Origin of census

1605–15; < Latin: a listing and property assessment of citizens, equivalent to cēns(ēre) to assess, register (citizens) in a census + -tus suffix of v. action; for -s- in place of -st- see censor

Related formscen·su·al [sen-shoo-uh l] /ˈsɛn ʃu əl/, adjectivepre·cen·sus, noun

Can be confusedcensus consensus (see usage note at consensus)

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for census

British Dictionary definitions for census


/ (ˈsɛnsəs) /

noun plural -suses

an official periodic count of a population including such information as sex, age, occupation, etc
any offical counta traffic census
(in ancient Rome) a registration of the population and a property evaluation for purposes of taxation
Derived Formscensual, adjective

Word Origin for census

C17: from Latin, from cēnsēre to 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 census



1610s, from Latin census "the enrollment of the names and property assessments of all Roman citizens," originally past participle of censere "to assess" (see censor (n.)). The modern census begins in the U.S., 1790., and Revolutionary France. Property for taxation was the primary purpose in Rome, hence Latin census also was used for "one's wealth, one's worth, wealthiness."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper