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. (a)

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.

(b)

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

 

© Webster 1913.

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