Definition of circumcise
: to cut off the foreskin of (a male) or the prepuce or clitoris and labia minora of (a female)
Recent Examples of circumcise from the Web
The youths, known as abakhwetha, are first circumcised without anesthetic, before being sent away from their village and into the bush, with minimal supplies and wrapped in a blanket.
There’s a plotline in which an 18-year-old Russian Jew gets circumcised, and another in which a pair of Beverly Hills stoner hairdressers spend an entire episode making crank calls.
As an initiation rite, young men are circumcised with a spear tip then sent into the wilderness for weeks, during which time infection often sets in.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumcise.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of circumcise
Middle English, from Latin circumcisus, past participle of circumcidere, from circum- + caedere to cut
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
CIRCUMCISE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of circumcise for English Language Learners
: to cut off the skin (called the foreskin) at the end of the penis of (a man or boy)
: to cut off the clitoris or outer sexual organs of (a woman or girl)
Medical Definition of circumcise
1: to cut off the foreskin of (a male) or the prepuce of (a female)
2: to cut off all or part of the external genitalia and especially the clitoris and labia minora of (a female)—see female genital mutilation
Seen and Heard
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