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Crossword clues for tonsure

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ And if you want funny peculiar, simply gaze upon Thierry Boutsen's reverse-flip bird's-nest tonsure.
▪ He had others in his grizzled russet tonsure, dropped from the higher branches as the wind stirred them.
▪ He was balding fast, with a monk's tonsure.
▪ Perhaps the guy has a heat sensor where his tonsure should be.
▪ The older boy, leaner and more muscular, has shorter hair and a small skull-cap which may conceal a tonsure.
▪ Tuda wore a Petrine tonsure and observed the Roman Easter.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Tonsure \Ton"sure\, n. [F., fr. L. tonsura a shearing, clipping, from tondere, tonsum, to shear, shave; cf. Gr. ? to gnaw; perhaps akin to Gr. ? to cut, and E. tome.]

  1. The act of clipping the hair, or of shaving the crown of the head; also, the state of being shorn.

  2. (R. C. Ch.)

    1. 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.

    2. The shaven corona, or crown, which priests wear as a mark of their order and of their rank.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "shaving of the head or part of it," especially as a religious rite, from Anglo-French tonsure (mid-14c.), Old French tonsure "ecclesiastical tonsure; sheep-shearing" (14c.), from Latin tonsura "a shearing, clipping," from tonsus, past participle of tondere "to shear, shave, clip, crop," from PIE *tend-, from root *tem- "to cut" (see tome). The verb is attested from 1706 (implied in tonsured). Related: Tonsuring.


n. The bald patch resulting from being tonsured. vb. (context Christianity English) To subject to the often ritual shave 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.

  1. n. the shaved crown of a monk's or priest's head

  2. shaving the crown of the head by priests or members of a monastic order

  3. v. shave the head of a newly inducted monk


Tonsure is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp, as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word tōnsūra (meaning "clipping" or "shearing") and referred to a specific practice in medieval Catholicism, abandoned by papal order in 1972. Current usage more generally refers to cutting or shaving for monks, devotees, or mystics of any religion as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem. Tonsure also refers to the secular practice of shaving all or part of the scalp to show support or sympathy, or to designate mourning.

Tonsure is still a traditional practice in Catholicism by specific religious orders (with papal permission). It is also commonly used in the Eastern Orthodox Church for newly baptized members and is frequently used for Buddhist novices and monks. It exists as a traditional practice in Islam after completion of the hajj and is also practiced by a number of Hindu religious orders.

Usage examples of "tonsure".

Like the rest of them, he wore riding leathers and a leather brigandine, his tonsure covered by a leather cap and with no other sign of his calling visible.

The curate of SaintSamuel, the Abbe Josello, presented me to Monsignor Correre, Patriarch of Venice, who gave me the tonsure, and who, four months afterwards, by special favour, admitted me to the four minor orders.

As was his usual wont, Faelan was immaculately turned out, his black habit neatly brushed, his cowled scapular falling in precise folds, his tonsure gleaming newly shaven on his bowed head.

Tanaburs, dressed in a dirty grey robe embroidered with hares and crescent moons, stood in the entranceway and raised both hands above his tonsured head.

Sansum was always a thin man, short of stature, with a sharp, clean-shaven chin and a receding forehead above which his tonsured hair stuck up stiff and black like a thorn hedge, though the hedge had been more closely trimmed on top than at its edges and thus had left him with a pair of black bristly tufts that stuck out just above his ears.

Bedwin pushed the hood away from his white tonsured hair and scratched in his beard for a troublesome louse.

Arthur said, and when Sansum just shook his tonsured head, Arthur touched the hilt of Excalibur.

Sansum was in a black gown -which, like his stiffly tonsured hair, was whitened with stone dust.

His mouse-like face with its stiffly tonsured brush offered us a smirk that was intended as a smile.

All that I remembered, just as I remembered being lifted up, screaming for my mother who could not help me, and I remembered being carried through the twin lines of fire where the warriors danced and the women moaned, and I remembered Tanaburs holding me high above his tonsured head as he walked to the edge of a pit that was a black circle in the earth surrounded by fires whose flames burned bright enough to illuminate the blood-smeared tip of a sharpened stake that protruded from the bowels of the round dark pit.

There was a gaggle of tonsured priests waiting for them, in addition to a dozen or more Church knights and five women, all but one of them younger than Adrina.

He pointed to a parchment scroll waiting on the small, slanted desk, a tonsured scribe holding out an inked quill expectantly.

Beside her was a man wearing a brown cassock, his tonsured head so polished it reflected the candles.

Their tonsured heads and pale skin made it hard to tell one from the other.

It was opened a few moments later by Lord Draco, who took in the fallen guards and the tonsured priests with a glance, reaching for his sword with a speed that belied his age.