Ecclesiastical. a ceremonial immersion in water, or application of water, as an initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian church.
any similar ceremony or action of initiation, dedication, etc.
a trying or purifying experience or initiation.
Christian Science. purification of thought and character.

1250–1300; Middle English < Late Latin baptisma < Greek bapt(ízein) to baptize + -isma -ism; replacing Middle English bapteme < Old French < Late Latin, as above

baptismal [bap-tiz-muhl] , adjective
baptismally, adverb
postbaptismal, adjective
pseudobaptismal, adjective
rebaptism, noun

2. induction, admittance, introduction. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
baptism (ˈbæpˌtɪzəm)
1.  a Christian religious rite consisting of immersion in or sprinkling with water as a sign that the subject is cleansed from sin and constituted as a member of the Church
2.  the act of baptizing or of undergoing baptism
3.  any similar experience of initiation, regeneration, or dedication

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, bapteme, from O.Fr. batesme, bapteme (11c., Mod.Fr. baptême), from L. baptismus, from Gk. baptismos, noun of action from baptizein (see baptize). The -s- restored in later 14c. Figurative sense is from late 14c. Phrase baptism of fire "a soldier's first experience
of battle" (1857) translates Fr. baptême de feu; the phrase originally was ecclesiastical Gk. baptisma pyros and meant "the grace of the Holy Spirit as imparted through baptism." Later it was used of martyrdom, especially by burning.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

baptism definition

The ceremony of initiation into Christianity; in most Christian churches, it is considered a sacrament. Persons baptized either have water poured on them or are immersed in water; some groups of Christians insist on immersion. The effect of baptism, in Christian belief, is to cleanse persons of their sins, so that they are born into a new life with Jesus. Most churches baptize members when they are infants, but some groups, like the Baptists, insist on adult baptism. Jesus himself was baptized. (See John the Baptist.)

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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Example sentences for baptismal
See baptismal regeneration for more information on this issue.
It is called confirmation because it confirms and strengthens baptismal grace.
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