the act of cutting the hair or shaving the head.
the shaving of the head or of some part of it as a religious practice or rite, especially in preparation for entering the priesthood or a monastic order.
the part of a cleric's head, usually the crown, left bare by shaving the hair.
the state of being shorn.
verb (used with object), tonsured, tonsuring.
to confer the ecclesiastical tonsure upon.
to subject to tonsure.

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin tōnsūra a shearing, equivalent to tōns(us) (past participle of tondēre to shear, clip, shave) + -ūra -ure

untonsured, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tonsure (ˈtɒnʃə)
1.  in certain religions and monastic orders
 a.  the shaving of the head or the crown of the head only
 b.  the part of the head left bare by shaving
 c.  the state of being shaven thus
2.  (tr) to shave the head of
[C14: from Latin tōnsūra a clipping, from tondēre to shave]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "shaving of the head or part of it as a religious rite," from Anglo-Fr. tonsure (mid-14c.), from O.Fr. tonsure (14c.), from L. tonsura "a shearing, clipping," from tonsus, pp. of tondere "to shear, shave," from PIE *tend-, from base *tem- "to cut" (see tome). The
verb is attested from 1793.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in various religions, a ceremony of initiation in which hair is clipped from the head as part of the ritual marking one's entrance into a new stage of religious development or activity

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
She soon after took the religious veil, and he received the clerical tonsure.
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