Definition of circumcision in US English:



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

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

    • ‘'By the end of that year, it appeared that we had reduced the circumcision of girls by 36 percent,' he added.’
    • ‘Both songs are traditionally sung by girls during circumcision.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There is a sharp increase in the number of girls and women undergoing circumcision in the country.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Circumcision deprives girls of much of their ability to experience sexual pleasure.’
    • ‘Her father, who died five years ago, also decided that the local practice of circumcision was not for his girls.’
    • ‘The circumcision of a girl is performed in infancy.’
    • ‘In 1999, in Paris, they found someone who had performed 50 circumcisions on young girls.’
    • ‘The programme has also helped to cut down the number of young girls lined up for circumcision in the area this year.’


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