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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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 No tonsorial slouch himself is their overlord, Count Pierre d’Alençon, a saucy libertine (hilariously played by a peroxide-blond Affleck) who makes no secret of his preference for Le Gris over Carrouges. Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2021 Meanwhile, Thomas comically goes from honey to vinegar on a dime — while providing a tonsorial fashion parade, thanks to Justin Lore’s towering wigs. Matthew J. Palm,, 12 June 2021 Pelosi is not the first politician to have a sacrosanct tonsorial engagement. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 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, 15 Apr. 2020 Yet a stroll down its high street reveals a tonsorial revolution deep in the heart of Britain. The Economist, 18 Jan. 2020 In a school full of mean kids, her tonsorial nightmare makes her an easy target. Sheri Linden,, 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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The first known use of tonsorial was in 1813

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tonsorial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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