from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A vessel in which incense is burned, especially during religious services.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A vessel in which incense is burned before an altar.
  • noun A fire-pan in which perfumes were burned to sweeten the atmosphere, having its lid perforated, and sometimes decorated with figures and designs in open-work.
  • noun One who formerly paid cense-money. See censure, n., 5.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A vessel for perfumes; esp. one in which incense is burned.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An ornamental container for burning incense, especially during religious ceremonies.
  • noun A person who censes, a person who perfumes with incense

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a container for burning incense (especially one that is swung on a chain in a religious ritual)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, short for encenser, from Anglo-Norman encensier, from encens, incense, from Old French; see incense.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman censier, from encensier, from encens ("incense")


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  • A vessel, usually covered, in which incense is burned, especially during religious services. Also thurible.

    July 19, 2007

  • A much nicer word than censor!

    July 24, 2007

  • Very true. Amazing what one letter will do to change a word. :-)

    July 24, 2007

  • I swear, every time I read about cencers, they are being swung by the priest.

    July 26, 2007

  • Better than censors being swung by a priest....

    July 26, 2007

  • "Put me down, you froozing motherlover!"

    July 26, 2007

  • A funny image, R. . .I wonder what the priest's motivation in swinging censors would be. . .would such swinging punish the censor or the congregants? "Church was grim today. I was censor-whipped."

    July 26, 2007

  • Both, I'd imagine. Yikes. This is getting a bit too kinky for me. ;-)

    July 26, 2007

  • Yes, my mother always warned me to avoid sacrilege. Chastened.

    July 26, 2007

  • No, no--that wasn't directed at you (or anyone else, for that matter)! Just kidding around. The visual is pretty funny. Next time I'm in a church, I'm sure I'll start laughing and won't be able to stop.

    And while we're on the subject, there must be a word for that phenomenon--uncontrollable laughing where laughing is not exactly acceptable. :-)

    July 26, 2007

  • Ah yes, that phenomenon, she blushed, recalling the upwelling of giggles at her own wedding, which was fortunately a tiny wedding.

    July 26, 2007

  • Not so bad, slumry. I once got the giggles during a funeral....

    July 26, 2007

  • I can empathize!

    July 26, 2007

  • And I can sympathize!

    July 28, 2007

  • Fellow inappropriate gigglers--no wonder I feel at home here. ;-)

    July 28, 2007

  • "But only two priests were in the sacristy, one wearing blue-and-gold vestments and a second priest dressed in a long white surplice, who was trying to fix a silver censer that seemed to be broken."

    - 'The Colour Of Blood', Brian Moore.

    January 3, 2008