ton·​so·​ri·​al | \ tän-ˈsȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce tonsorial (audio) \

Definition of tonsorial

: of or relating to a barber or the work of a barber

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Did You Know?

Tonsorial is a fancy word that describes the work of those who give shaves and haircuts. (It can apply more broadly to hairdressers as well.) It derives from the Latin verb tondēre, meaning "to shear, clip or crop." (Another descendant, "tonsor," is an archaic word for a barber.) You might be more familiar with the related noun "tonsure," which refers to the shaven crown or patch worn by monks and other clerics, or the religious rite of clipping the head of one being admitted as a cleric. The verb tonsure means "to shave the head of."

Examples of tonsorial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pelosi is not the first politician to have a sacrosanct tonsorial engagement. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "On Nancy Pelosi’s Haircut," 3 Sep. 2020 The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Vengeful, bloodletting rage churns magnificently through Stephen Sondheim’s score for this story of murder by tonsorial means in Victorian England. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Want to Listen to Musical Cast Albums? Our Top 10 Desert Island Picks," 15 Apr. 2020 Yet a stroll down its high street reveals a tonsorial revolution deep in the heart of Britain. The Economist, "Turkish delight Why Turkish barbers are taking over Britain’s high streets," 18 Jan. 2020 In a school full of mean kids, her tonsorial nightmare makes her an easy target. Sheri Linden,, "Even the movie itself is having a bad hair day in 'Permanent'," 15 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tonsorial.' 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 tonsorial

1813, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tonsorial

Latin tonsorius, from tondēre

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Time Traveler for tonsorial

Time Traveler

The first known use of tonsorial was in 1813

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Cite this Entry

“Tonsorial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

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