[ sur-kuh m-sahyz ]
/ ˈsɜr kəmˌsaɪz /

verb (used with object), cir·cum·cised, cir·cum·cis·ing.

to remove the prepuce of (a male), especially as a religious rite.
to remove the clitoris, prepuce, or labia of (a female).
to purify spiritually.

Origin of circumcise

1200–50; Middle English circumcisen < Latin circumcīsus (past participle of circumcīdere to cut around), equivalent to circum- circum- + -cīsus (-cīd- cut + -tus past participle suffix; see -cide)

Related forms

cir·cum·cis·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for circumcise

British Dictionary definitions for circumcise


/ (ˈsɜːkəmˌsaɪz) /

verb (tr)

to remove the foreskin of (a male)
to incise surgically the skin over the clitoris of (a female)
to remove the clitoris of (a female)
to perform the religious rite of circumcision on (someone)

Derived Forms

circumciser, noun

Word Origin for circumcise

C13: from Latin circumcīdere, from circum- + caedere to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for circumcise


[ sûrkəm-sīz′ ]


To perform a circumcision.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.