Definition of baptism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbapˌtizəm/


1(In the Christian Church) the religious rite of sprinkling water onto a person’s forehead or of immersion 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.
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
1.1A ceremony or occasion at which baptism takes place.
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, rite of passage


baptism of fire

A difficult or painful new undertaking or experience.
From the original sense of 'a soldier's first battle'
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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bap·tism

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