I’ve written before about students’ often-misguided impulse to “define their terms,” but this one is okay by my guidelines: that is, it doesn’t merely parrot a dictionary definition but shows the reader the limited or special sense in which the writer is using the word.
My student’s definition sentence certainly sounds as if he thinks he’s giving THE definition, though, not some special narrow application.
And as such, it fills me with relief. Publishers, writers, courts, and governments have long sought to come up with a clear-cut definition of “censorship,” one that can be applied to any instance of that charge. My student has given them one.
If the case doesn’t involve Mark Twain, fanatics, and schools, it isn’t censorship.
Any questions? As many of my students say, I think not.