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 In the tense Ramat Eshkol neighborhood, members of the Torah Nucleus community held a circumcision ceremony for a newborn on a recent morning. Fox News, 8 June 2021 In Africa, one of the continents hardest hit by AIDS, experts noted interruptions in programs that check pregnant women for HIV and that provide male circumcision to reduce their risk of infection. Mike Stobbe,, 4 June 2021 People filled the streets to greet a procession that precedes the circumcision of the boys. Jordan Simeonov, Star Tribune, 12 Apr. 2021 Friedman said if the law passed and was interpreted to include circumcision, it would likely be challenged as an infringement on religious liberty. al, 8 May 2021 Many older villagers still recall repression against the Muslim minority during Bulgaria's Communist regime, including the forceful changing of Muslim names and bans on circumcision. Jordan Simeonov, Star Tribune, 12 Apr. 2021 Since most of the festivities, however, took place outdoors, the community decided to keep their tradition alive and maintain the circumcision ceremony, which is considered by Muslims a religious duty and essential part of a man's identity. Jordan Simeonov, Star Tribune, 12 Apr. 2021 This was a strange protestation for an author whose subjects include overbearing Jewish parents and rebellious sons, circumcision, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the diasporic condition (as well as unexpected uses for kosher liver). The Economist, 31 Mar. 2021 Kamau had argued that many women want to undergo circumcision but the law prevents them. Tom Odula, Star Tribune, 17 Mar. 2021

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

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Circumcision.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on circumcision

Nglish: Translation of circumcision for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of circumcision for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about circumcision


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