Definition of circumcision in US English:



  • 1The action or practice of circumcising a young boy or man.

    • ‘At present, circumcision is only available on health grounds at the majority of the country's hospitals.’
    • ‘Male initiation in the form of circumcision is practiced among most Xhosa groups.’
    • ‘The wanted them to face charges of practising circumcision without a permit.’
    • ‘Kubu was once used as a site for the initiation and circumcision of young boys.’
    • ‘The bris, or ritual circumcision, takes place eight days after birth.’
    • ‘As furor over female genital mutilation grows, so does the criticism of male circumcision.’
    • ‘In an effort to meet what he believes are his younger mistress' true desires, Nick even undergoes adult circumcision.’
    • ‘Infant male circumcision as practised by the Jews occurs on the eighth day after birth.’
    • ‘Male circumcision is the most commonly performed surgical operation in the United States.’
    • ‘There is nothing moral or immoral about the choices we make about circumcision.’
    • ‘In the past, young boys underwent ritual circumcision at a relatively late age.’
    • ‘Some groups practice circumcision of boys aged ten to twelve to mark their passage into manhood.’
    • ‘Ever since Abraham, circumcision was the way Jews marked their covenant with God.’
    • ‘Brit Milah, or circumcision, is performed on a Jewish male eight days after he is born.’
    • ‘I am a pediatric surgeon who has observed numerous circumcisions done by excellent Mohelim.’
    • ‘This is an extremely rare type of cancer, and circumcision may only offer protection if done in childhood, not during puberty.’
    • ‘Sometimes circumcision is carried out for religious reasons.’
    • ‘Although circumcision is carried out more often on babies and young boys, it can be performed on men of any age.’
    • ‘Male circumcision is one of the most common surgical operations done worldwide and is considered by many to be a minor procedure.’
    • ‘Young men who undergo circumcision at the same time become part of a social group that lasts for a lifetime.’
    1. 1.1 (in church use) the feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, January 1.
      • ‘New Years is still observed as the Feast of Christ's Circumcision by some denominations.’
      • ‘Most secular celebrations also are tied to religious holidays, like Christmas or New Year's (the Circumcision of Jesus).’
  • 2The action or practice of circumcising a girl or young woman; female circumcision.

    • ‘The circumcision of a girl is performed in infancy.’
    • ‘The programme has also helped to cut down the number of young girls lined up for circumcision in the area this year.’
    • ‘Circumcision deprives girls of much of their ability to experience sexual pleasure.’
    • ‘An Australian couple has appeared in court for allegedly organising an illegal circumcision of their one-year-old baby girl in Indonesian province of Bali.’
    • ‘Both songs are traditionally sung by girls during circumcision.’
    • ‘In 1999, in Paris, they found someone who had performed 50 circumcisions on young girls.’
    • ‘There is a sharp increase in the number of girls and women undergoing circumcision in the country.’
    • ‘'By the end of that year, it appeared that we had reduced the circumcision of girls by 36 percent,' he added.’
    • ‘Women who advocate circumcision for their daughters feel they are protecting their own as well as their daughter's virginity and their family's reputation.’
    • ‘Her father, who died five years ago, also decided that the local practice of circumcision was not for his girls.’


Middle English: from late Latin circumcisio(n-), from the verb circumcidere (see circumcise).