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

Examples from the Web for untonsured

  • The bright hair, untonsured save by two coral combs, fell behind her shoulders.

    Captives of the Flame|Samuel R. Delany
  • The monk, tonsured and untonsured, is found in every religion.

    English Secularism|George Jacob Holyoake

British Dictionary definitions for untonsured


/ (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 Formstonsured, 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

Word Origin and History for untonsured



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper