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

n harsh criticism or disapproval

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

n the state of being excommunicated

exclusion, excommunication
Type of:
the state of being rejected

v rebuke formally

criminate, reprimand
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

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.