[ sur-kuhm-sizh-uhn ]
See synonyms for circumcision on
  1. an act, instance, or the rite of circumcising.

  1. spiritual purification.

  2. (initial capital letter) a church festival in honor of the circumcision of Jesus, observed on January 1.

Origin of circumcision

First recorded in 1125–75; Middle English, from Late Latin circumcīsiōn-, stem of circumcīsiō, equivalent to circumcise + -ion

Words Nearby circumcision Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use circumcision in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for circumcision


/ (ˌsɜːkəmˈsɪʒən) /

    • surgical removal of the foreskin of males

    • surgical incision into the skin covering the clitoris in females

    • removal of the clitoris

  1. the act of circumcision, performed as a religious rite by Jews and Muslims

  1. 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

Cultural definitions for circumcision


[ (sur-kuhm-sizh-uhn) ]

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.

Notes for circumcision

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.