Word of the Day

tonsorial

audio pronunciation
August 01, 2012
adjective
\tahn-SOR-ee-ul\
Definition
: of or relating to a barber or the work of a barber
Examples
"Rookie Adam Henrique is trying to spark the Devils with a tonsorial adjustment. Henrique has shaved off his beard, leaving him with a bristly mustache for Game 4." —From an Associated Press article appearing in the Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2012

"We found the office closed; but, in the verandah of the dwelling-house, was a lady performing a tonsorial operation on the head of a prim-looking, elderly European, in a low, white cravat…." — From Herman Melville's 1847 novel Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
"Tonsorial" is a fancy word that describes the work of those who give shaves and haircuts. (It can apply more broadly to hairdressers as well.) It derives from the Latin verb "tondēre," meaning "to shear, clip or crop." (Another descendant, "tonsor," is an archaic word for a barber.) You might be more familiar with the related noun "tonsure," which refers to the shaven crown or patch worn by monks and other clerics, or the religious rite of clipping the head of one being admitted as a cleric. The verb "tonsure" means "to shave the head of."

Test Your Vocabulary: What is the meaning of "coiffeur"? The answer is ...
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears