from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The act of shaving the head or part of the head, especially as a preliminary to becoming a priest or a member of a monastic order.
- n. The part of a monk's or priest's head that has been shaved.
- transitive v. To shave the head of.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To subject to the often ritual shaving of the crown of the head as a sign of humility and one's religious vocation. Some tonsures were more dramatic than others, leaving only a fringe of hair. Abolished by Vatican II in the Roman Catholic Church.
- n. The bald patch resulting from being tonsured.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The act of clipping the hair, or of shaving the crown of the head; also, the state of being shorn.
- n. The first ceremony used for devoting a person to the service of God and the church; the first degree of the clericate, given by a bishop, abbot, or cardinal priest, consisting in cutting off the hair from a circular space at the back of the head, with prayers and benedictions; hence, entrance or admission into minor orders.
- n. The shaven corona, or crown, which priests wear as a mark of their order and of their rank.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The act of clipping the hair, or of shaving the head, or the state of being shorn.
- n. Specifically— In the Roman Catholic and Greek churches, the ceremony of shaving or cutting off the hair of the head, either wholly or partially, performed upon a candidate as a preparatory step to his entering the priesthood or embracing a monastic life; hence, entrance or admittance into the clerical state or a monastic order.
- n. The bare place on the head of a priest or monk, formed by shaving or cutting the hair.
- To shave or clip the hair of the head of; specifically, to give the tonsure to.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the shaved crown of a monk's or priest's head
- v. shave the head of a newly inducted monk
- n. shaving the crown of the head by priests or members of a monastic order
Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin tōnsūra, from Latin, a shearing, from tōnsus, past participle of tondēre, to shear; see tem- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin tonsūra ("a clipping, trimming"), from tondeō ("shear, clip, trim"). (Wiktionary)