bap·​tize bap-ˈtīz How to pronounce baptize (audio)
 especially Southern  bab-ˈtīz,
 or  ˈbab-ˌtīz
variants or less commonly baptise
baptized also baptised; baptizing also baptising

transitive verb

religion : to administer baptism (see baptism sense 1) to
baptize a child in the Episcopal Church
was baptized a Catholic as an infant
: to purify or cleanse spiritually especially by a purging (see purge entry 1 sense 1) experience or ordeal
baptized with pain and rapture, tears and fire …Sidney Lanier
: initiate
Both developments were baptized under last season's conditions of scanty snow …New York Times
: to give a name to (as at baptism) : christen
Theybaptized their son "John" after the baby's grandfather.

intransitive verb

: to administer baptism
baptizer noun

Examples of baptize in a Sentence

The priest baptized the baby. She was baptized at the age of 20.
Recent Examples on the Web On January 9, 1890, she was baptized, confirmed and received her first Holy Communion. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, 20 Nov. 2023 However, the burglary suspect says a force held his head in the pool, resulting in him being baptized while in the church, the sheriff’s office said in news release. Mark Price The Charlotte Observer (tns), al, 6 Aug. 2023 Weeks before his firing, Ferrell had been criticized by the Freedom From Religion Foundation for inviting a pastor to baptize players on school grounds after a practice on Oct. 23. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 16 Nov. 2023 In 2010, Nikki told The New York Times that she was baptized at St. Andrew By-the-Sea before their wedding; their children Rena and Nalin were also baptized in the Methodist Church. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 9 Nov. 2023 More from Carolyn Hax Answer this week’s reader question: My in-laws want to pay us to baptize our baby From the archive: How to leash in a sister-in-law who oversteps her bounds? Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2023 At the time, the pastor’s words and the ceremony, which wasn’t required of others seeking to baptize their children, didn’t stand out. Greg Jaffe and Patrick Marley, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Aug. 2023 There are plenty of us heathens who were baptized at birth. Haben Kelati, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2023 Their wedding weekend began with the couple getting baptized together. Tricia Despres, Peoplemag, 18 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'baptize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French baptiser, from Late Latin baptizare, from Greek baptizein to dip, baptize, from baptein to dip, dye; akin to Old Norse kvefja to quench

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of baptize was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near baptize

Cite this Entry

“Baptize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


bap·​tize bap-ˈtīz How to pronounce baptize (audio)
baptized; baptizing
: to dip in water or sprinkle water on as a part of the ceremony of receiving into the Christian church
: to make pure in spirit (as by a painful experience)
: to give a name to (as in the ceremony of baptism) : christen
baptizer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on baptize

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