Definition of baptism in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The Christian religious rite of sprinkling water on to a person's forehead or of immersing them in water, symbolizing purification or regeneration and admission to the Christian Church. In many denominations, baptism is performed on young children and is accompanied by name-giving:

    ‘the sacrament of baptism’
    • ‘When water baptism precedes salvation it becomes a religious practice, a ritual without substance.’
    • ‘It was within the community of the parish that ordinary people received Christian teaching and the sacraments of the church; baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial.’
    • ‘Living Water is both a joyous and a challenging celebration of baptism and the Christian life.’
    • ‘The rite of baptism is the sacramental entry into Christian life, and communion is a memorial of Christ's death and resurrection.’
    • ‘One witnesses the fasting and the solemn rite of baptism, preferably, by immersion in flowing water.’
    • ‘In the early church, baptism immediately made newcomers a part of the whole community.’
    • ‘At the opening worship, dancers waved a river of blue fabric through the crowd, symbolizing the waters of baptism.’
    • ‘We were discussing the rite of Christian baptism.’
    • ‘My first opportunity for believer's baptism in water by immersion came one month later.’
    • ‘Given that the church was a state church, the view was that one could not make a purely religious act such as baptism a requirement for church membership.’
    • ‘In Denmark, baptism in the state church had become a matter-of-course rite of citizenship.’
    • ‘Many of the rites of passage that young people undergo in Hungary are Christian rituals such as baptism, first communion, confirmation, and marriage.’
    • ‘Significantly, Marcion would admit married persons to baptism in his church only if they took a vow to abstain from all sexual intercourse.’
    • ‘He challenges the view of baptism as an admission to membership within the church.’
    • ‘The Estonian Evangelical Christians Free Church did not require baptism by immersion as a prerequisite for church membership.’
    • ‘She was also known to mock the holy sacrament of baptism by sprinkling water on her mother's head and reciting the appropriate words.’
    • ‘A living Mormon stands in as proxy for a deceased person, as water baptism by immersion is vicariously performed.’
    • ‘One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Native Baptist church is immersion baptism.’
    • ‘This is an especially appropriate time to begin worship with a remembrance of baptism and a sprinkling rite.’
    • ‘Only as they shared the name of Jesus Christ in baptism would they find real unity.’
    christening, naming, immersion, sprinkling
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[count noun] A ceremony or occasion at which baptism takes place:
      ‘weddings, funerals, and baptisms are carried out in the parish church’
      • ‘The surrounding host-culture religions are used for ceremonies like baptisms or funerals for which the Roma need a formal religious institution.’
      • ‘They wouldn't mind doing sick calls and being with the dying or even doing some marriage preparation, some weddings, some baptisms.’
      • ‘Her ordination will allow her to officiate at weddings, baptisms, communions and funerals and is taking place on June 27 at 10 am.’
      • ‘It has an effective outreach to adults, and you see many more adult baptisms there than you're likely to find in any Lutheran church in the States or Europe.’
      • ‘Recently seven baptisms took place and evangelisation of two neighbouring villages is under way.’
      • ‘People want priests to competently carry out funerals, weddings, baptisms.’
      • ‘Other attractions around the town will include a display at Keighley Shared Church of the town's original register of weddings, baptisms and funerals, and a letter from John Wesley.’
      • ‘Griots entertain at ceremonies such as baptisms and marriages.’
      • ‘Private baptisms tended to make baptisms a biological family affair rather than a congregational act.’
      • ‘Members attend ritual events such as baptisms, confirmations, wedding ceremonies, and funerals and major religious events such as Christmas and Easter.’
      • ‘Rites of passage include major Catholic ceremonies such as baptisms, first communion, marriage and funerals.’
      • ‘Trinidadians and Tobagonians generally practice two forms of baptism: infant baptisms and adult baptisms.’
      • ‘All baptisms for January 12 will be held in the Church of St. Laurence O'Toole, Levitstown.’
      • ‘A revival of cultural traditions includes Christian holidays, days of remembrance, and church weddings, baptisms, and funerals.’
      • ‘Herbert calls for all Christians to remember often their baptisms and baptismal vows.’
      • ‘After all, we acknowledge that we take on Christ in our baptisms.’
      • ‘Infant and deathbed baptisms bring new dimensions to understanding the operation of baptism engaging human life to its limits and beyond as evidence of divine grace.’
      • ‘In our baptisms, we put on Christ and Christ lives in us.’
      • ‘Important occasions like births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths were carefully recorded in their big black family bibles.’
      • ‘Funerals vie with baptisms, as though two sides of the same rite.’
    2. 1.2 A person's initiation into a particular activity or role, typically one perceived as difficult:
      ‘this event constituted his baptism as a politician’
      • ‘Deora started writing a column in a Mumbai publication in preparation for his political baptism.’
      initiation, debut, introduction, inauguration, launch, beginning, rite of passage
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Middle English: from Old French baptesme, via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek baptismos ceremonial washing, from baptizein immerse, baptize.