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

People took this as an opportunity to share their views on circumcisions ... Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Pink Slams "Disgusting" Trolls Who Attacked Her Son for Not Wearing a Diaper," 1 Apr. 2019 In another, about 100 people followed an emotional and sometimes good-humored debate on a potential age limit on male circumcision. Martin Selsoe Sorensen, New York Times, "Where Danes Butt Heads (Politely) With Their Leaders," 23 June 2018 Researchers are still determining how much of a difference circumcision really makes here. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "11 Things Everyone Should Know About Uncircumcised Penises," 29 Dec. 2018 In Squirrel Hill this Saturday, synagogue members were reported to have been celebrating a bris, the ritual circumcision of Jewish infant males, a ritual designed to help welcome a newborn into a new life, culture, and community. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "An assailant killed at least 11 at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.," 27 Oct. 2018 The shooter attacked the Tree of Life synagogue during a bris, the ritual circumcision and party marking the entry of a new Jewish boy into the world. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "My Jewish wedding was the day of the Pittsburgh shooting. Anti-Semites threatened it.," 2 Nov. 2018 Knee and hip replacements are now the third- and fourth-most-common surgeries, respectively, in U.S. hospitals, behind Caesarean sections and circumcisions. Consumer Reports, Washington Post, "Knee and hip replacements are common, but they’re not always fully successful," 18 June 2018 Oh my God, remember when Charlotte made this guy get an adult circumcision??!?!?!?!?!?!?! Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "Sex and the City," 6 June 2018 The push to curb circumcision has been brewing in parts of Europe for several years. Christina Caron, New York Times, "Bill Banning Circumcision in Iceland Alarms Religious Groups," 28 Feb. 2018

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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Statistics for circumcision

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for circumcision

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

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More Definitions for circumcision


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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Comments on circumcision

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


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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