tonsure

noun
ton·​sure | \ ˈtän(t)-shər How to pronounce tonsure (audio) \

Definition of tonsure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the Roman Catholic or Eastern rite of admission to the clerical state by the clipping or shaving of a portion of the head
2 : the shaven crown or patch worn by monks and other clerics
3 : a bald spot resembling a tonsure

tonsure

verb
tonsured; tonsuring\ ˈtän(t)-​sh(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce tonsure (audio) \

Definition of tonsure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to shave the head of especially : to confer the tonsure upon

Examples of tonsure in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His Semitic features suggested intelligence, but his shambling gait and inattention to his tonsure and sartorial presence suggested a man under extraordinary stress. Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2021 Instead, its hair is black, like mine, and raggedly scuttles onto his forehead like the tonsure of a Tibetan yak left out in the rain. Washington Post, 9 July 2020

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

First Known Use of tonsure

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1706, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tonsure

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin tonsura, from Latin, act of shearing, from tonsus, past participle of tondēre to shear — more at tome

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Time Traveler for tonsure

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The first known use of tonsure was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near tonsure

tonsorial

tonsure

tontine

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Cite this Entry

“Tonsure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tonsure. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for tonsure

tonsure

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tonsure

: a round, shaved area on the top of a priest's or monk's head

More from Merriam-Webster on tonsure

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tonsure

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