censor vs. censure

Censer vs. Censor vs. Censure vs. Sensor: What’s the Difference?

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There are many confusing word pairs in the English language, but there are not many instances where there are four words that could be confused for each other!

Censer, censor, censure, and sensor are all words that sound similar or look similar but have different meanings.

When writing, it’s important to choose the right word to avoid confusing your readers or losing credibility as an author. If you want to learn the difference between censer, censor, censure, and sensor, keep reading to get definitions, examples, and quiz questions to test your knowledge.

Censor Meaning

As a verb, the word censor means to examine books, movies, etc., for objectionable material and remove it before the content is published or shown.

When used as a noun, a censor is someone who examines something for content that may not be appropriate.

Examples of Censor in a Sentence

  • The movie was censored for objectionable language because the target audience was kids aged eight to ten.
  • The principal is a censor when it comes to the contents of the school library.

Censer Meaning

A censer is a vessel for burning incense, usually as part of a religious ritual.

If you’re a regular churchgoer, especially in the Catholic church, you might be used to seeing the priest or altar server swinging a metal pot with smoke coming out of it; that’s a censer.

Example of Censer in a Sentence

  • As the altar boy ran from the burning church, the censer swung wildly in his hands.

Censure Meaning

As a verb, the word censure means to express strong disapproval of someone’s actions or to condemn what they did as wrong. To censure someone is to say they did something bad and disapprove of it.

As a noun, censure can also mean a condemning judgment or an official reprimand; for example, a formal statement made by a government official or agency about someone’s actions.

Censure (sen-shur) is pronounced differently than censor, censer, and sensor (sen-ser), so it isn’t strictly a homophone of these words.

Examples of Censure in a Sentence

  • The mayor was censured by the city council for his inappropriate comments.
  • The censure issued against the mayor was later dismissed.

Sensor Meaning

A sensor is an electronic device that detects motion or changes in temperature or pressure within a specific area.

Examples of Sensor in a Sentence

  • The garage door has sensors so it won’t lower if a car is too close.
  • He wore a heart rate sensor to monitor his heart rate while he exercised.

Censer vs. Censor vs. Censure vs. Sensor Quiz

Choose the best word to complete each sentence. The answers are at the bottom of this blog post.

  1. The Supreme Court issued a press release censering/censoring/censuring/sensoring the mayor for his actions.
  2. An infrared atmospheric heat censer/censor/censure/sensor detects fires by measuring air temperature.
  3. The police censer/censor/censure/sensor any sensitive information about the investigation when talking to the press.
  4. The censer/censor/censure/sensor will activate when it picks up movement outside.
  5. The earliest evidence of a thurible or censer/censor/censure/sensor in Christian usage dates back to Rome in the fourth century.

Final Thoughts on Censer vs. Censor vs. Censure vs. Sensor 

The English language can be difficult to navigate, especially when you’ve got words that sound exactly the same and have multiple meanings! Of these four words, censor and censure are the closest in meaning because they are both about judgment and official reprimands or suppression. However, material that is to be published can be censored whereas people are typically censured.

Censer vs. Censor vs. Censure vs. Sensor Quiz Answers

  1. The Supreme Court issued a press release censuring the mayor for his actions.
  2. An infrared atmospheric heat sensor detects fires by measuring air temperature.
  3. The police censor any sensitive information about the investigation when talking to the press.
  4. The sensor will activate when it picks up movement outside.
  5. The earliest evidence of a thurible or censer in Christian usage dates back to Rome in the fourth century.

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