cir·​cum·​ci·​sion | \ ˌsər-kəm-ˈsi-zhən How to pronounce circumcision (audio) , ˈsər-kəm-ˌsi- \

Definition of circumcision

1a : the act of circumcising especially : the cutting off of the foreskin of males that is practiced as a religious rite by Jews and Muslims and by others as a social custom or for potential health benefits (such as improved hygiene)
c : the condition of being circumcised
2 capitalized : January 1 observed as a festival in some churches in commemoration of the circumcision of Jesus

Examples of circumcision in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The dizzying Iznik tiles, the world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, the Egyptian onyx marble hammam—even the grandiose circumcision room—was all mine to contemplate and admire in splendid solitude. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "Post-Lockdown, Istanbul's Residents Are Embracing Empty Palaces and Sunset Dance Parties," 30 June 2020 The dangerous procedure, also known as female circumcision, is widely practiced across some regions in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Nusmila Lohani, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: Portugal plans for a green future, and more," 15 May 2020 Men were asked to undergo a second, symbolic circumcision. New York Times, "After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning," 13 July 2019 Traditionally a mohel is a rabbi, a cantor or another religious leader who performs the brit milah, or bris, a circumcision ceremony, on an 8-day-old Jewish boy. Alyson Krueger, New York Times, "Jewish Women Move Into a Male Domain: Ritual Circumcision," 1 Mar. 2020 Four recent cases of neonatal herpes infection following a Jewish circumcision ritual have health officials once again urging parents in New York City’s ultra-Orthodox population to avoid the practice or at least limit its risks. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "City Flags Jewish Circumcision Ritual Following New Herpes Cases," 23 Feb. 2020 Questions about her days on the coast, her childhood, her brother, her dad, all lead to the same place: circumcision. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "Anti-Semitic signs hang from a Va. front porch. They are tied to an awful murder.," 5 Mar. 2020 Officials in charge of monitoring mosques reported on how actively the residents participated in ceremonies, including the naming of children, circumcision, weddings, and funerals. Austin Ramzy,, "How China tracked detainees and their families," 17 Feb. 2020 But after months of little contact, Parnas invited him to attend his newborn son's Jewish circumcision ceremony in Boca Raton in October 2018, the investor said. Anchorage Daily News, "As impeachment trial ended, prosecutors took new steps in Giuliani-related probe, according to people familiar with case," 15 Feb. 2020

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

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First Known Use of circumcision

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of circumcision was in the 12th century

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Last Updated

17 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Circumcision.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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cir·​cum·​ci·​sion | \ ˌsər-kəm-ˈsizh-ən How to pronounce circumcision (audio) \

Medical Definition of circumcision

1 : the act of circumcising:
a : the cutting off of the foreskin of males that is practiced as a religious rite by Jews and Muslims and by others as a social custom or for potential health benefits (as improved hygiene)
2 : the condition of being circumcised

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