AskDefine | Define censure

Dictionary Definition



1 harsh criticism or disapproval [syn: animadversion]
2 the state of being excommunicated [syn: excommunication, exclusion] v : rebuke formally [syn: reprimand, criminate]

User Contributed Dictionary



Originated 1350–1400 from Middle English censure, from Latin cénsūra (censor's office or assessment), equivalent to cénsus (censor) + -ure.


  1. the act of blaming, criticizing, or condemning as wrong; reprehension
  2. an official reprimand
  3. the state of excommunication


the act of blaming
an official reprimand
the state of excommunication


  1. to criticize harshly
  2. to formally rebuke


to criticize harshly
to formally rebuke


  • American Heritage 2000
  • WordNet 2003



  • lang=fr|/sɑ̃.syʁ/
  • SAMPA: /sA~.syR/



Extensive Definition

worldwide article
Not to be confused with censor, censer or sensor.
Censure () is a process by which a formal reprimand is issued to an individual by an authoritative body. In a deliberative assembly, a motion to censure is used.

Censure in the United States

Censure is a procedure for publicly reprimanding a public official for inappropriate behavior. When the president is censured, it serves merely as a condemnation and has no direct effect on the validity of presidency, nor are there any other particular legal consequences. Unlike impeachment, censure has no basis in the Constitution or in the rules of the Senate and House of Representatives. It derives from the formal condemnation of either congressional body of their own members.
To date, Andrew Jackson is the only sitting President to be successfully censured, and his censure was subsequently expunged from the record.
On December 2 1954, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin was censured by the United States Senate for failing to cooperate with the subcommittee that was investigating him, and for insults to the committee that was trying to censure him.
On June 10 1980, Democratic Representative Charles H. Wilson from California was censured by the House of Representatives for "financial misconduct," as a result of the "Koreagate" scandal of 1976. "Koreagate" was an American political scandal involving South Koreans seeking influence with members of Congress. An immediate goal seems to have been reversing President Richard Nixon's decision to withdraw troops from South Korea. It involved the KCIA (now the National Intelligence Service) funneling bribes and favors through Korean businessman Tongsun Park in an attempt to gain favor and influence. Some 115 members of Congress were implicated.
On July 20 1983, Representatives Dan Crane, a Republican from Illinois, and Gerry Studds, a Democrat from Massachusetts, were censured by the House of Representatives for their involvement in the 1983 Congressional page sex scandal.
On July 31 2007, retired Army General Philip Kensinger was censured by The United States Army. The censure came after misleading investigators of the Pat Tillman death in 2004.
On January 24 2008, Republican Douglas Bruce from Colorado Springs, Colorado was censured by the Colorado House of Representatives for kicking a newspaper photographer during a morning prayer session, and refusing to apologize.

Censure in Canada

Censure is a procedure by which the House of Commons or the Senate can rebuke the actions or conduct of an individual. The power to censure is not directly mentioned in the constitutional texts of Canada but is derived from the powers bestowed upon both Chambers through section 17 of the Constitution Act, 1867. A motion of censure can be introduced by any Member of Parliament or Senator and passed by a simple majority for censure to be deemed to have been delivered. In addition, if the censure is related to the privileges of the Chamber, the individual in question could be summoned to the bar of the House or Senate (or, in the case of a sitting member, to that member's place in the chamber) to be censured, and could also face other sanctions from the house, including imprisonment. Normally, censure is exclusively an on-the-record rebuke — it is not equivalent to a motion of no confidence, and a prime minister can continue in office even if censured.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accuse, anathema, anathematize, anathematizing, anathemize, animadvert on, annotate, approval, arraign, arraignment, aspersion, assail, assault, attack, attaint, badge of infamy, bar sinister, baton, bend sinister, bespatter, black eye, black mark, blacken, blacklist, blame, blot, blow upon, blur, book review, brand, bring home to, broad arrow, call to account, cast blame upon, cast reflection upon, castigation, champain, citation, comment, complain against, condemn, condemnation, contemn, convict, conviction, criminate, critical bibliography, critical journal, critical notice, criticism, criticize, critique, cry down, cry out against, cry out on, cry shame upon, damn, damnation, death sentence, death warrant, decrial, decry, defame, defile, denounce, denouncement, denunciate, denunciation, disallow, disapprove, disdain, disparage, disparagement, doom, excommunicate, excommunication, excoriation, expose, expose to infamy, find guilty, flaying, fulminate against, fulmination, fustigation, gibbet, guilty verdict, hang in effigy, impeach, impeachment, implicate, implication, impugn, impugnment, imputation, incriminate, incrimination, inculpate, inculpation, indict, indictment, inveigh against, involve, involvement, judgment, knock, literary criticism, mark of Cain, moralize upon, notice, onus, oppose, pass sentence on, penalize, pillory, pillorying, point champain, pronounce judgment, pronounce sentence, proscribe, proscription, rap, rebuke, reflect upon, reflection, reject, report, reprehend, reprehension, reprimand, reproach, reprobate, reprobation, reprove, review, scorn, scout, sentence, shake up, skin, skinning alive, slur, smear, smirch, smudge, smutch, soil, spot, stain, stigma, stigmatism, stigmatization, stigmatize, strafe, stricture, sully, taint, tarnish, verdict of guilty, vilify
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