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[sen-ser] /ˈsɛn sər/
an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
an adverse critic; faultfinder.
(in the ancient Roman republic) either of two officials who kept the register or census of the citizens, awarded public contracts, and supervised manners and morals.
(in early Freudian dream theory) the force that represses ideas, impulses, and feelings, and prevents them from entering consciousness in their original, undisguised forms.
verb (used with object)
to examine and act upon as a censor.
to delete (a word or passage of text) in one's capacity as a censor.
1525-35; < Latin cēnsor, equivalent to cēns(ēre) to give as one's opinion, recommend, assess + -tor -tor; -sor for *-stor by analogy with derivatives from dentals, as tōnsor barber (see tonsorial)
Related forms
censorable, adjective
[sen-sawr-ee-uh l, -sohr-] /sɛnˈsɔr i əl, -ˈsoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
censorian, adjective
anticensorial, adjective
noncensored, adjective
overcensor, verb (used with object)
precensor, verb (used with object)
recensor, verb (used with object)
uncensorable, adjective
uncensored, adjective
Can be confused
censer, censor, censure, sensor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for censors
  • After all, they want to appoint themselves as censors.
  • It keeps copyright holders from becoming private censors of future culture by denying access to building blocks of new work.
  • Other regressive regimes also found such censors and other apologists--and willing agents--of secrecy and repression.
  • Thus the companies, for their own survival, are dragooned into service as auxiliary censors.
  • Over the decades, the courts have steadily driven government censors into a precarious redoubt.
  • The censors and the enemies of high standards come as often from outside the system as from inside.
  • AoA censors a lot of comments that don't agree with the party line.
  • As his great work progressed, a second series of censors took up their parable against it.
  • He casts them aside, censors them, he will have none of them.
  • censors will never stop determined evaders if communication is possible at all.
British Dictionary definitions for censors


a person authorized to examine publications, theatrical presentations, films, letters, etc, in order to suppress in whole or part those considered obscene, politically unacceptable, etc
any person who controls or suppresses the behaviour of others, usually on moral grounds
(in republican Rome) either of two senior magistrates elected to keep the list of citizens up to date, control aspects of public finance, and supervise public morals
(psychoanal) the postulated factor responsible for regulating the translation of ideas and desires from the unconscious to the conscious mind See also superego
verb (transitive)
to ban or cut portions of (a publication, film, letter, etc)
to act as a censor of (behaviour, etc)
Derived Forms
censorable, adjective
censorial (sɛnˈsɔːrɪəl) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, 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
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Word Origin and History for censors



1530s, "Roman magistrate who took censuses and oversaw public morals," from Middle French censor and directly from Latin censor, from censere "to appraise, value, judge," from PIE root *kens- "speak solemnly, announce" (cf. Sanskrit śamsati "recites, praises," śasa "song of praise").

There were two of them at a time in classical times, usually patricians, and they also had charge of public finances and public works. Transferred sense of "officious judge of morals and conduct" in English is from 1590s. Roman censor also had a transferred sense of "a severe judge; a rigid moralist; a censurer." Of books, plays (later films, etc.), 1640s. By the early decades of the 19c. the meaning of the English word had shaded into "state agent charged with suppression of speech or published matter deemed politically subversive." Related: Censorial.


1833 of media, from censor (n.). Related: Censored; censoring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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censors in Medicine

censor cen·sor (sěn'sər)
The hypothetical agent in the unconscious mind that is responsible for suppressing unconscious thoughts and wishes.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for censors

in ancient Rome, a magistrate whose original functions of registering citizens and their property were greatly expanded to include supervision of senatorial rolls and moral conduct. Censors also assessed property for taxation and contracts, penalized moral offenders by removing their public rights, such as voting and tribe membership, and presided at the lustrum ceremonies of purification at the close of each census. The censorship was instituted in 443 BC and discontinued in 22 BC, when the emperors assumed censorial powers

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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