[sur-kuh m-sizh-uh n]


an act, instance, or the rite of circumcising.
spiritual purification.
(initial capital letter) a church festival in honor of the circumcision of Jesus, observed on January 1.

Origin of circumcision

1125–75; Middle English < Late Latin circumcīsiōn- (stem of circumcīsiō), equivalent to Latin circumcīs(us) (see circumcise) + -iōn- -ion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for circumcision

baptism, initiation

Examples from the Web for circumcision

Contemporary Examples of circumcision

Historical Examples of circumcision

British Dictionary definitions for circumcision



  1. surgical removal of the foreskin of males
  2. surgical incision into the skin covering the clitoris in females
  3. removal of the clitoris
the act of circumcision, performed as a religious rite by Jews and Muslims
RC Church the festival celebrated on Jan 1 in commemoration of the circumcision of Jesus
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

Word Origin and History for circumcision

late 12c., from Latin circumcisionem (nominative circumcisio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumcidere "to cut around; cut, clip, trim," from circum "around" (see circum-) + caedere "to cut" (see -cide).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

circumcision in Medicine




The surgical removal of part or all of the prepuce.peritomy
The cutting around an anatomical part.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

circumcision in Culture



The surgical removal of the skin that covers the tip of the penis, usually performed soon after birth. Although circumcision is common in the United States, the procedure is no longer widely recommended as a medical necessity by physicians.


Circumcision is performed as a religious ceremony by Jews (see also Jews) and Muslims.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.