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circumcise Syllabification: cir·cum·cise
Pronunciation: /ˈsərkəmˌsīz/

Definition of circumcise in English:


[with object]
1Cut off the foreskin of (a young boy or man, especially a baby) as a religious rite, especially in Judaism and Islam, or as a medical treatment.
Example sentences
  • Shemot Rabbah tells us that the Jews ceased circumcising their sons to blend in better with their Egyptian hosts.
  • As a mother, over time I have come to regret that my son was circumcised.
  • My wife Devorah and I were resolute about our decision not to circumcise our son.
2(As a practice traditional in some cultures) partially or totally remove the external genitalia of (a girl or young woman) for nonmedical reasons.
Example sentences
  • The Shija female initiation ceremony was performed after the young women were circumcised.
  • Particular ethnic groups circumcise their women during pregnancy, when they are in labour or when they have given birth to their first child.
  • The colonial authorities had arrested a woman for circumcising her daughter.


Middle English: from Old French circonciser, or from Latin circumcis- 'cut around', from the verb circumcidere, from circum 'around, about' + caedere 'to cut'.

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