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circumcision

[sur-kuh m-sizh-uh n] /ˌsɜr kəmˈsɪʒ ən/
noun
1.
an act, instance, or the rite of circumcising.
3.
spiritual purification.
4.
(initial capital letter) a church festival in honor of the circumcision of Jesus, observed on January 1.
Origin
1125-1175
1125-75; Middle English < Late Latin circumcīsiōn- (stem of circumcīsiō), equivalent to Latin circumcīs(us) (see circumcise) + -iōn- -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for circumcision

circumcision

/ˌsɜːkəmˈsɪʒən/
noun
1.
  1. surgical removal of the foreskin of males
  2. surgical incision into the skin covering the clitoris in females
  3. removal of the clitoris
2.
the act of circumcision, performed as a religious rite by Jews and Muslims
3.
(RC Church) the festival celebrated on Jan 1 in commemoration of the circumcision of Jesus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for circumcision
n.

late 12c., from Latin circumcisionem (nominative circumcisio), noun of action from past participle stem of circumcidere "to cut around; cut, clip, trim," from circum "around" (see circum-) + caedere "to cut" (see -cide).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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circumcision in Medicine

circumcision cir·cum·ci·sion (sûr'kəm-sĭzh'ən)
n.

  1. The surgical removal of part or all of the prepuce. Also called peritomy.

  2. The cutting around an anatomical part.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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circumcision in Culture
circumcision [(sur-kuhm-sizh-uhn)]

The surgical removal of the skin that covers the tip of the penis, usually performed soon after birth. Although circumcision is common in the United States, the procedure is no longer widely recommended as a medical necessity by physicians.

Note: Circumcision is performed as a religious ceremony by Jews and Muslims.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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circumcision in the Bible

cutting around. This rite, practised before, as some think, by divers races, was appointed by God to be the special badge of his chosen people, an abiding sign of their consecration to him. It was established as a national ordinance (Gen. 17:10, 11). In compliance with the divine command, Abraham, though ninety-nine years of age, was circumcised on the same day with Ishmael, who was thirteen years old (17:24-27). Slaves, whether home-born or purchased, were circumcised (17:12, 13); and all foreigners must have their males circumcised before they could enjoy the privileges of Jewish citizenship (Ex. 12:48). During the journey through the wilderness, the practice of circumcision fell into disuse, but was resumed by the command of Joshua before they entered the Promised Land (Josh. 5:2-9). It was observed always afterwards among the tribes of israel, although it is not expressly mentioned from the time of the settlement in Canaan till the time of Christ, about 1,450 years. The Jews prided themselves in the possession of this covenant distinction (Judg. 14:3; 15:18; 1 Sam. 14:6; 17:26; 2 Sam. 1:20; Ezek. 31:18). As a rite of the church it ceased when the New Testament times began (Gal. 6:15; Col. 3:11). Some Jewish Christians sought to impose it, however, on the Gentile converts; but this the apostles resolutely resisted (Acts 15:1; Gal. 6:12). Our Lord was circumcised, for it "became him to fulfil all righteousness," as of the seed of Abraham, according to the flesh; and Paul "took and circumcised" Timothy (Acts 16:3), to avoid giving offence to the Jews. It would render Timothy's labours more acceptable to the Jews. But Paul would by no means consent to the demand that Titus should be circumcised (Gal. 2:3-5). The great point for which he contended was the free admission of uncircumcised Gentiles into the church. He contended successfully in behalf of Titus, even in Jerusalem. In the Old Testament a spiritual idea is attached to circumcision. It was the symbol of purity (Isa. 52:1). We read of uncircumcised lips (Ex. 6:12, 30), ears (Jer. 6:10), hearts (Lev. 26:41). The fruit of a tree that is unclean is spoken of as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23). It was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace as well as of the national covenant between God and the Hebrews. (1.) It sealed the promises made to Abraham, which related to the commonwealth of Israel, national promises. (2.) But the promises made to Abraham included the promise of redemption (Gal. 3:14), a promise which has come upon us. The covenant with Abraham was a dispensation or a specific form of the covenant of grace, and circumcision was a sign and seal of that covenant. It had a spiritual meaning. It signified purification of the heart, inward circumcision effected by the Spirit (Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Ezek. 44:7; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:28; Col. 2:11). Circumcision as a symbol shadowing forth sanctification by the Holy Spirit has now given way to the symbol of baptism (q.v.). But the truth embodied in both ordinances is ever the same, the removal of sin, the sanctifying effects of grace in the heart. Under the Jewish dispensation, church and state were identical. No one could be a member of the one without also being a member of the other. Circumcision was a sign and seal of membership in both. Every circumcised person bore thereby evidence that he was one of the chosen people, a member of the church of God as it then existed, and consequently also a member of the Jewish commonwealth.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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