ton·​sil·​lec·​to·​my | \ ˌtän(t)-sə-ˈlek-tə-mē How to pronounce tonsillectomy (audio) \
plural tonsillectomies

Definition of tonsillectomy

: the surgical removal of the tonsils

Keep scrolling for more

Did you know?

The tonsils are the areas of tissue that you can see in the mirror on both sides of your throat (not to be confused with the uvula, which hangs down in the middle). Tonsillectomy, the most common surgery performed on children in the U.S., is intended to relieve tonsillitis, or inflammation of the tonsils (usually by strep or staph bacteria). But the fact is, tonsillitis can often be successfully treated with antibiotics, which means that surgery, including the week or two of pain and discomfort that follows it, is generally unnecessary.

Examples of tonsillectomy in a Sentence

The surgeon performed a tonsillectomy.
Recent Examples on the Web Shortly after, Alston died of complications from a tonsillectomy surgery during college. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, USA TODAY, 28 Feb. 2021 Another challenge struck when Martinez had to have a tonsillectomy and couldn’t stay in the shelter during her recovery. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Aug. 2020 The city Board of Health moved to close schools, parks, swimming pools and dance halls — in some cases, only to people under 21 — prohibited the sale of unpasteurized milk and discouraged tonsillectomies at this time. Paula Allen,, 9 May 2020 Freestone said since then, more than 200 surgeries have been performed, including tonsillectomies, hernia repair and bronchoscopies. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, 19 July 2019 So Glover urged an end to widespread tonsillectomies, which, given the rate of surgical infections at the time, spared English teenagers a lot of suffering. The Economist, 28 June 2018 The report, in JAMA Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, compared 60,667 Danish children under 9 who had tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies or both with 1.1 million who had not had the surgeries. Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, 7 June 2018 The little girl's aunt invited her to recuperate from the tonsillectomy at her home on Long Island. Nancy Bilyeau, Town & Country, 30 Sep. 2016 Mendelsohn underwent a radical tonsillectomy followed by seven weeks of radiation, five days per week, and seven rounds of nine-hour chemotherapy with a feeding tube in his stomach. Shayne Benowitz, miamiherald, 24 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of tonsillectomy

1899, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About tonsillectomy

Time Traveler for tonsillectomy

Time Traveler

The first known use of tonsillectomy was in 1899

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near tonsillectomy




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tonsillectomy

Cite this Entry

“Tonsillectomy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tonsillectomy



English Language Learners Definition of tonsillectomy

medical : an operation to remove a person's tonsils


ton·​sil·​lec·​to·​my | \ ˌtän(t)-sə-ˈlek-tə-mē How to pronounce tonsillectomy (audio) \
plural tonsillectomies

Medical Definition of tonsillectomy

: surgical excision of the tonsils

More from Merriam-Webster on tonsillectomy Encyclopedia article about tonsillectomy


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!