- the act of cutting the hair or shaving the head.
- the shaving of the head or of some part of it as a religious practice or rite, especially in preparation for entering the priesthood or a monastic order.
- the part of a cleric's head, usually the crown, left bare by shaving the hair.
- the state of being shorn.
- to confer the ecclesiastical tonsure upon.
- to subject to tonsure.
Origin of tonsure
Examples from the Web for tonsure
We have as much to fear from the tonsure as from the hauberk.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
But the tonsure had then been very small, hardly larger than a penny.Abbe Mouret's Transgression
In the Old Testament it is permitted to no priest to wear the tonsure.
Although he was an archbishop he had only the first tonsure.Lucretia Borgia
The mark of his tonsure was next removed, and that with great cruelty.
- (in certain religions and monastic orders)
- the shaving of the head or the crown of the head only
- the part of the head left bare by shaving
- the state of being shaven thus
- (tr) to shave the head of
Word Origin and History for tonsure
late 14c., "shaving of the head or part of it as a religious rite," from Anglo-French tonsure (mid-14c.), from Old French tonsure (14c.), from Latin tonsura "a shearing, clipping," from tonsus, past participle of tondere "to shear, shave," from PIE *tend-, from root *tem- "to cut" (see tome). The verb is attested from 1793. Related: Tonsured; tonsuring.