Censure is a noun referring to very strong criticism; the verb means to criticize very strongly. If you take your dad's car without telling him, you can expect him to censure you severely, and maybe even ground you as well.

The noun and verb are most closely associated with official expressions of disapproval, as when Congress censures a senator. The noun is from Latin cēnsūra, "censorship," from cēnsor, "an ancient Roman censor." The job of a Roman censor was to take the census and to supervise public morals and behavior. Our English word censor — which means to suppress speech or other forms of expression — is from this Latin word.

Definitions of censure
  1. noun
    harsh criticism or disapproval
    synonyms: animadversion
    see moresee less
    an ecclesiastical censure by the Roman Catholic Church withdrawing certain sacraments and Christian burial from a person or all persons in a particular district
    type of:
    condemnation, disapprobation
    an expression of strong disapproval; pronouncing as wrong or morally culpable
  2. noun
    the state of being excommunicated
    synonyms: exclusion, excommunication
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the state of being rejected
  3. verb
    rebuke formally
    synonyms: criminate, reprimand
    see moresee less
    express blame or censure or make a harshly critical remark
    type of:
    criticise, criticize, knock, pick apart
    find fault with; express criticism of; point out real or perceived flaws
Commonly confused words

censor / censure

A censor hides information. A censure is harsh criticism. They’re both judgments and they both stink.

Continue reading...

Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week