What is a single word antonym of censorship? Freedom of speech is too long. I would like to be able to contrast it like:

ignorance vs knowledge

submission vs defiance

oppression vs freedom

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    @Lirik: Freedom of speech definitely doesn't imply any of those words you just listed. It means what it says - the freedom to say whatever you like. This has nothing to do with whether anyone else approves of it or not. I'm therefore voting to close because you haven't properly defined the meaning you want a word for. – FumbleFingers Feb 26 '12 at 22:44
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    @FumbleFingers Hmm, Link asked for an antonym for "censorship". Simchona suggested consulting a thesaurus, whereupon Link listed the words he found in a thesaurus and said he found them unsatisfactory. You then say that because you agree with Link that a "general reference" did not provide a satisfactory answer, that this makes Link's question "twaddle"? So, what, if Link had said that he got a satisfactory answer from a general reference, that this would make the question valid? I thought that was one of the prime reasons for closing a question. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your comment. – Jay Mar 14 '12 at 6:37
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    haha good one! Okay - let's not fall out over this. Friends? – FumbleFingers Mar 15 '12 at 15:46
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    @FumbleFingers LOL, Best Friends Forever! :) – Kiril Mar 15 '12 at 16:02
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    Oh, bummer, I had hoped that this would start a vicious flame war ending with one of the parties tracking down the other in the real world and brutally killing him, while the rest of us on the forum watched for vicarious thrills. :-) – Jay Mar 15 '12 at 17:19

10 Answers 10


I'd just say "free speech." Choose function over form; getting the meaning right is more important than hewing to the one-word meme, if communication is the intent.

  • Free speech works really well! – Kiril Feb 27 '12 at 3:42

How about liberty?

M-W definition here:

the quality or state of being free:

a : the power to do as one pleases

c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges

  • Well, but "liberty" is surely broader and more general than "freedom of speech". You could say that a society has "liberty" because people have freedom of religion, freedom of association, the right to vote, etc, etc, even though they don't have freedom of speech. Likewise one could imagine a society where people have freedom of speech but few other freedoms, and one could reasonably say that that society does not have libertty. – Jay Mar 14 '12 at 6:31

I think in this context, your best choice is "expression". Censorship restricts or prohibits expression. If you can live with two words, "free expression" works nicely.

  • Cool, thanks for the input! Really helpful stuff! :) – Kiril Feb 27 '12 at 5:54

Depending on where you want to use the word, permissiveness might suit your needs.


Noncensorship is found in some books listed by ngrams


I would say tolerance to describe an attribute of such a positive society which does not indulge in censorship. Other options could be maturity, in a broader sense; or liberty of life.


The only one-word antonym I can think of is "sanction", but I don't think that works in this case. It only applies to a single instance. That is, you can say, "The government censored the publication of this book" versus "The government sanctioned the publication of this book". But I've never heard someone say, "I believe in the right to vote and sanction" as an alternative to "... the right to vote and freedom of speech".


As with many nouns, censorship, the application of censoring..., has no antonyms. One will will be compelled to find a combination of words, unless the context allows for a foreign word, which in the case at hand, is doubtful. A hyphenated word combination or phrase is likely the closest to a single word that could be found, as the other posts attest.

Press or speech laissez-faire would be an expression which seems to run quite rigorously as a reversal of meaning of censorship.


Latitude (see meaning 4). And an upvote for permissiveness.


Diligence is the antonym for censorship. Censorship is any attempt to under value the works of others.

Notice the prefix Di means two. Diligence is the ability to respect another and one's self as two. With diligence in place one cannot project one's own limitations upon others.

The suffix in "diligent" is gent similar to gentleman one whom can talk out their problems instead of committing savage acts of ignorance such as censorship.

Autonomy describes the surrounding conditions of no censorship.

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