Definition of phimosis in US English:



  • A congenital narrowing of the opening of the foreskin so that it cannot be retracted.

    • ‘Circumcision will prevent several conditions that cause an accumulation of fluid and swelling around the foreskin and glans, as well as a problem known as phimosis, which is the inability to retract the foreskin.’
    • ‘Paraphimosis must be distinguished from phimosis, a nonemergency condition in which the foreskin cannot be pulled back.’
    • ‘Some doctors are prescribing steroid creams for phimosis, but this is unnecessary in children, since the foreskin does not need to be retractable in young boys.’
    • ‘If you have phimosis and you keep getting repeat attacks of balanitis, then circumcision (removal of the foreskin) may be considered.’
    • ‘Excessive retraction can also damage the skin leading to scarring and real phimosis.’


Late 17th century: modern Latin, from Greek, literally ‘muzzling’.