Definition of censor in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsensər/


1An official who examines material that is about to be released, such as books, movies, news, and art, and suppresses any parts that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.
Example sentences
  • It has caused widespread global controversy, stretching from Catholic groups in Europe and America, to a number of states in India that have also banned the film despite federal censors clearing it for release.
  • Films that came from Europe were often subjected to the vagaries of individual distributor taste, tastes too often linked to assessments of what might and might not be passed by the film censors.
  • When you upset the censors with your films, as you often did, were you trying to push buttons consciously or was it something that was organic, something that was just there in your work?
expurgator, bowdlerizer;
examiner, inspector, editor
1.1 Psychoanalysis An aspect of the superego that is said to prevent certain ideas and memories from emerging into consciousness.
From a mistranslation of German Zensur 'censorship', coined by Freud
Example sentences
  • The goal of Freudian dream interpretation is to undo the work of the censor.
  • Moreover, if dreams were all expressions of repressed infantile impulses, which found an indirect way past the censor, one would expect that the proportion of sleep spent in dreaming would increase with age.
  • The superego, originating in the child through an identification with parents, and in response to social pressures, functions as an internal censor to repress the urges of the id.
2(In ancient Rome) either of two magistrates who held censuses and supervised public morals.
Example sentences
  • In most cases, a censor and a chiliarch or centurion from the Imperial Guard were ordered to jointly oversee campaigns to apprehend brigands.
  • Though everyone knew Carthaginian figs were a successful transplant to Italy; Cato the censor grew them in his garden
  • The magistracy continued to be controlled by patricians until 351 BC, when Gaius Marcius Rutilus was appointed the first plebeian censor.


[with object]
Examine (a book, movie, etc.) officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it: my mail was being censored
More example sentences
  • Films are censored for a number of reasons: sex, violence or bad language.
  • Despite these flaws, Kohl does not recommend censoring the books.
  • He was a rebellious writer whose books were censored for years, and that in itself was meaningful for me.
cut, delete parts of, make cuts in, blue-pencil, redact;
edit, expurgate, bowdlerize, sanitize
informal clean up


Both censor and censure are used as both verbs and nouns, but censor means ‘scrutinize, revise, or cut unacceptable parts from (a book, movie, etc.)’ or ‘a person who does this,’ while censure means ‘criticize harshly’ or ‘harsh criticism’: the inmates received their mail only after prison officials had censored all the contents; some senators considered a resolution of censure to express strong disapproval of the president’s behavior.



Pronunciation: /senˈsôrēəl/
Example sentences
  • Many of Pasolini's films, with their anti-fascist voice, radical reformist ideals, and unbridled sexuality, were seized on moral grounds by higher censorial authorities, denounced as blasphemous and obscene.
  • Like last time around, Walser again said he was addressing freedom of expression; he claimed his book was about the censorial power wielded by the German literary and media establishment.
  • The Thatcher years were considered by the Press in this country (of all political persuasions) to be the most censorial of media freedoms since the 1600s.


Mid 16th century (sense 2 of the noun): from Latin, from censere 'assess'.

  • This was originally a term for two Roman magistrates whose job was to hold censuses and supervise public morals. Their job came from censere ‘assess’. Use to describe someone with the job of inspecting material before publication, dates from the mid 17th century. Censure (Late Middle English) and census (early 17th century) come from the same root.

Words that rhyme with censor

censer, dispenser, fencer, Mensa, sensor, Spenser

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cen·sor

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