noun, plural cen·sus·es.

  1. an official enumeration of the population, with details as to age, sex, occupation, etc.
  2. (in ancient Rome) the registration of citizens and their property, for purposes of taxation.

verb (used with object)

  1. to take a census of (a country, city, etc.): The entire nation is censused every 10 years.

noun plural -suses

  1. an official periodic count of a population including such information as sex, age, occupation, etc
  2. any offical counta traffic census
  3. (in ancient Rome) a registration of the population and a property evaluation for purposes of taxation

1610s, from Latin census “the enrollment of the names and property assessments of all Roman citizens,” originally past participle of censere “to assess” (see censor (n.)). The modern census begins in the U.S., 1790., and Revolutionary France. Property for taxation was the primary purpose in Rome, hence Latin census also was used for “one’s wealth, one’s worth, wealthiness.”

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