Definition of baptism in US English:



  • 1(in the Christian Church) the religious rite of sprinkling water onto a person's forehead or of immersion 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.

    • ‘One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Native Baptist church is immersion baptism.’
    • ‘Only as they shared the name of Jesus Christ in baptism would they find real unity.’
    • ‘One witnesses the fasting and the solemn rite of baptism, preferably, by immersion in flowing water.’
    • ‘We were discussing the rite of Christian baptism.’
    • ‘A living Mormon stands in as proxy for a deceased person, as water baptism by immersion is vicariously performed.’
    • ‘Many of the rites of passage that young people undergo in Hungary are Christian rituals such as baptism, first communion, confirmation, and marriage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the opening worship, dancers waved a river of blue fabric through the crowd, symbolizing the waters of baptism.’
    • ‘He challenges the view of baptism as an admission to membership within the church.’
    • ‘This is an especially appropriate time to begin worship with a remembrance of baptism and a sprinkling rite.’
    • ‘The Estonian Evangelical Christians Free Church did not require baptism by immersion as a prerequisite for church membership.’
    • ‘When water baptism precedes salvation it becomes a religious practice, a ritual without substance.’
    • ‘She was also known to mock the holy sacrament of baptism by sprinkling water on her mother's head and reciting the appropriate words.’
    • ‘The rite of baptism is the sacramental entry into Christian life, and communion is a memorial of Christ's death and resurrection.’
    • ‘In the early church, baptism immediately made newcomers a part of the whole community.’
    • ‘Significantly, Marcion would admit married persons to baptism in his church only if they took a vow to abstain from all sexual intercourse.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Living Water is both a joyous and a challenging celebration of baptism and the Christian life.’
    • ‘In Denmark, baptism in the state church had become a matter-of-course rite of citizenship.’
    christening, naming, immersion, sprinkling
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    1. 1.1 A ceremony or occasion at which baptism takes place.
      • ‘Important occasions like births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths were carefully recorded in their big black family bibles.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Private baptisms tended to make baptisms a biological family affair rather than a congregational act.’
      • ‘In our baptisms, we put on Christ and Christ lives in us.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The surrounding host-culture religions are used for ceremonies like baptisms or funerals for which the Roma need a formal religious institution.’
      • ‘Griots entertain at ceremonies such as baptisms and marriages.’
      • ‘People want priests to competently carry out funerals, weddings, 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.’
      • ‘Recently seven baptisms took place and evangelisation of two neighbouring villages is under way.’
      • ‘Rites of passage include major Catholic ceremonies such as baptisms, first communion, marriage and funerals.’
      • ‘Members attend ritual events such as baptisms, confirmations, wedding ceremonies, and funerals and major religious events such as Christmas and Easter.’
      • ‘Funerals vie with baptisms, as though two sides of the same rite.’
      • ‘Her ordination will allow her to officiate at weddings, baptisms, communions and funerals and is taking place on June 27 at 10 am.’
      • ‘Trinidadians and Tobagonians generally practice two forms of baptism: infant baptisms and adult baptisms.’
      • ‘They wouldn't mind doing sick calls and being with the dying or even doing some marriage preparation, some weddings, some baptisms.’
      • ‘After all, we acknowledge that we take on Christ in our baptisms.’
      • ‘Herbert calls for all Christians to remember often their baptisms and baptismal vows.’
    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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  • baptism of fire

    • A difficult or painful new undertaking or experience.

      • ‘Professional cycling is a tough business that demands extremely high levels of fitness and resolve and the Sligo man is making significant strides in his baptism of fire in this highly competitive sport.’
      • ‘But Election 2004 will be somewhat of a baptism of fire for her daughter Dawn who, at 21, is the youngest candidate seeking a seat in Kerry.’
      • ‘Many amateurs jumping to the ‘big show’ encounter extreme difficulties during their baptism of fire.’
      • ‘It looks like being another difficult week for Sandy Crombie, who is having a baptism of fire since assuming the top job at Standard Life.’
      • ‘The experience proved a classic baptism of fire for MacArthur, who got little sleep and had to force herself to eat, all the time fretting about the record.’
      • ‘Blanc, though, faces a baptism of fire against Duncan Ferguson and Ferguson has warned the ex-French international what to expect from the towering Everton striker.’
      • ‘Waterford ladies face a baptism of fire when they take on champions Harlequins in the opening round of the AIB Bank sponsored Munster Ladies Hockey Division One League on Saturday.’
      • ‘These days, Phuc enjoys talking to the journalists who once tormented her, because they are part of her professional life; but the relationship is tinged with the indelible memory of her baptism of fire.’
      • ‘I think it was a baptism of fire in terms of an introduction to fun on two wheels; I really don't think I'll ever experience weather as bad as that again.’
      • ‘With the Fianna Fáil organisation in Kerry North riddled with dissent, young McEllistrim's introduction to national politics is something of a baptism of fire.’
      • ‘Latham's first big test, his baptism of fire, has shown a man who fights best with his back to the wall.’
      • ‘Very few teams recover from being 3-1 down inside English football's most imposing atmosphere, but Ranieri's did on his so-called baptism of fire.’
      • ‘Patel had a baptism of fire on the Test stage in 1996, from which he was never given a chance to recover.’
      • ‘The Happy Scrubbers got a real baptism of fire at the opening of the Golf season at Doors Golf Club on Saturday, with absolutely horrendous climatic conditions prevailing.’
      • ‘If yesterday's attack was a parent's nightmare, the incident also proved a baptism of fire for new head teacher Richard Kelly who, at 38, is one of the youngest school bosses in the country.’
      • ‘And in a baptism of fire, she took to the catwalk at the Gharani Strok show during London Fashion Week, alongside Naomi Campbell, and other top models including Olivia Inge and Jamie Gunns.’
      • ‘Mr Savory's first show was a baptism of fire: ‘The very first show was in Hyde Park in London in front of one and a half million people over four days in 1994,’ he said.’
      • ‘‘It was a baptism of fire last year,’ admits Gass.’
      • ‘Without injured captain Jon Petrie and his predecessor Gordon Bulloch, who retired last month, the new Scotland boss faces a baptism of fire in his first outings as the full-time coach.’
      • ‘Allardyce tells it like it is and neither Okocha nor Bernard Mendy can contradict the manager after their baptisms of fire at Loftus Road.’
      painful experience, unpleasant experience, trial, tribulation, test, nightmare, trauma, baptism of fire, hell, hell on earth, misery, trouble, difficulty, torture, torment, agony
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Middle English: from Old French baptesme, via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek baptismos ‘ceremonial washing’, from baptizein ‘immerse, baptize’.