baptism

noun
bap·​tism | \ ˈbap-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce baptism (audio) , especially Southern ˈbab-\

Definition of baptism

1a : a Christian sacrament marked by ritual use of water and admitting the recipient to the Christian community
b : a non-Christian rite using water for ritual purification
c Christian Science : purification by or submergence in Spirit
2 : an act, experience, or ordeal by which one is purified, sanctified, initiated, or named

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from baptism

baptismal \ bap-​ˈtiz-​məl How to pronounce baptismal (audio) , especially Southern  bab-​ \ adjective
baptismally \ bap-​ˈtiz-​mə-​lē How to pronounce baptismally (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

In Christianity, baptism is the sacrament of admission to the church, symbolized by the pouring or sprinkling of water on the head or by immersion in water. The ceremony is usually accompanied by the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In the doctrine originated by St. Paul, it signifies the wiping away of past sins and the rebirth of the individual into a new life. Judaism practiced ritual purification by immersion, and the Gospels report that John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Baptism was an important ritual in the early church by the first century ce, and infant baptism appeared c. 200 ce. Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and most Protestant churches practice infant baptism. The Anabaptist reformers insisted on adult baptism after a confession of faith; modern Baptists and the Disciples of Christ also practice adult baptism.

Examples of baptism in a Sentence

There were over 100 baptisms at our church last year. He received the sacrament of baptism as an infant.

Recent Examples on the Web

Four players were given their World Cup debuts for a formidable baptism on the big stage. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "US comfortably beats Sweden and sets another Women's World Cup record," 20 June 2019 An attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to a high school in south Alabama complaining that the school’s role in the baptism of 18 student football players violated legal standards on separation of church and state. al.com, "Church-state group complains: 18 players baptized at school football field," 14 June 2019 Teeny targets on the far walls (where a baptism pool once stood), big bag targets lining the walls on either side. Andrea Reeves, Cincinnati.com, "Looking for a date night idea? Give archery a shot ... with burgers on the side," 20 June 2019 Half of Southern Baptist children leave the faith; annual baptisms—which reached a high in the mid-1970s, when the moderates were ascendant—are at their lowest level in almost a century. The Economist, "The Southern Baptists are beset by two related fiascos," 15 June 2019 Set out on a walking tour of the city’s outstanding medieval center; and stop by the fifth-century baptistery, an octagonal building adjacent to the Albenga Cathedral where baptisms were typically performed. National Geographic, "Italy: Hidden Treasures of the Northwest," 12 June 2019 The museum is trying to transform the nearby Metro station, Federal Center SW, into an audiovisual biblical baptism. Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, "The Messiah Cometh: Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible Descends on the Nation's Capital," 7 Apr. 2016 The date of Louis's baptism, just over two months after his birth, follows the timeline established by Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "When Will Prince Louis's Christening Be?," 20 June 2018 After the Indians take Alexandre to be tortured to force him to do the baptism, Roger begins digging a tunnel to escape. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 12 Recap: 5 Biggest Takeaways," 21 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'baptism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of baptism

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for baptism

Middle English baptisme

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about baptism

Statistics for baptism

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for baptism

The first known use of baptism was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for baptism

baptism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of baptism

: a Christian ceremony in which a small amount of water is placed on a person's head or in which a person's body is briefly placed under water

baptism

noun
bap·​tism | \ ˈbap-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce baptism (audio) \

Kids Definition of baptism

: the act or ceremony of baptizing

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on baptism

What made you want to look up baptism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!