[ ton-sher ]
/ ˈtɒn ʃər /


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.

verb (used with object), ton·sured, ton·sur·ing.

to confer the ecclesiastical tonsure upon.
to subject to tonsure.

Origin of tonsure

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin tōnsūra a shearing, equivalent to tōns(us) (past participle of tondēre to shear, clip, shave) + -ūra -ure


un·ton·sured, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tonsure

British Dictionary definitions for tonsure

/ (ˈtɒnʃə) /


(in certain religions and monastic orders)
  1. the shaving of the head or the crown of the head only
  2. the part of the head left bare by shaving
  3. the state of being shaven thus


(tr) to shave the head of

Derived forms of tonsure

tonsured, adjective

Word Origin for tonsure

C14: from Latin tōnsūra a clipping, from tondēre to shave
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