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

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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 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,, "Much like COVID-19, polio shut down schools, public places in 1946; officials urged hand washing and social distancing," 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, "Final pasta dinner to help Ugandan children’s hospital," 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, "Hospitals are learning from industry how to cut medical errors," 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, "Tonsillectomy Risks May Outweigh Benefits," 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, "Inside the Custody Battle for 10-Year-Old Heiress Gloria Vanderbilt," 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, "Oral sex is causing a big jump in HPV throat cancer in men | Miami Herald," 24 May 2018 Dozens — some as young as 2 — have perished after routine operations, such as colonoscopies and tonsillectomies. USA TODAY, "How a push to cut costs and boost profits at surgery centers led to a trail of death," 2 Mar. 2018 After a 2013 warning by the FDA not to give children codeine after tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy procedures, an American Academy of Pediatrics report in November 2017 found that about 5 percent of children were still being prescribed the drug. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "FDA sets stricter labeling rules to keep opioids away from kids | The Sacramento Bee," 12 Jan. 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.

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First Known Use of tonsillectomy

1899, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of tonsillectomy was in 1899

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Cite this Entry

“Tonsillectomy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce tonsillectomy (audio)

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tonsillectomy Encyclopedia article about tonsillectomy

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