Definition of baptism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbaptɪz(ə)m/


[mass noun]
1The Christian religious rite of sprinkling water on to a person’s forehead or of immersing them 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: the sacrament of baptism
More example sentences
  • One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Native Baptist church is immersion baptism.
  • She was also known to mock the holy sacrament of baptism by sprinkling water on her mother's head and reciting the appropriate words.
  • 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.
christening, naming, immersion, sprinkling
rare lustration
1.1 [count noun] A ceremony or occasion at which baptism takes place: weddings, funerals, and baptisms are carried out in the parish church
More example sentences
  • Rites of passage include major Catholic ceremonies such as baptisms, first communion, marriage and funerals.
  • Recently seven baptisms took place and evangelisation of two neighbouring villages is under way.
  • 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.
1.2A person’s initiation into a particular activity or role, typically one perceived as difficult: this event constituted his baptism as a politician
More example sentences
  • Deora started writing a column in a Mumbai publication in preparation for his political baptism.
initiation, debut, introduction, inauguration, launch, beginning, rite of passage;
French rite de passage
formal commencement


baptism of fire

A difficult introduction to a new job or activity: the summer tour to Australia was truly a baptism of fire
From the original sense of 'a soldier's first battle'
More example sentences
  • Many amateurs jumping to the ‘big show’ encounter extreme difficulties during their baptism of fire.
  • 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.
  • Latham's first big test, his baptism of fire, has shown a man who fights best with his back to the wall.


Middle English: from Old French baptesme, via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek baptismos 'ceremonial washing', from baptizein 'immerse, baptize'.

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Line breaks: bap|tism

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