DSAE test file

circumcision, noun

Forms:
Also with initial capital.
Origin:
EnglishShow more Special senses of general English circumcision the act or rite of circumcising.
According to traditional custom among some African peoples:
1. The period of isolation and initiation, during which circumcision is also performed, after which the status of manhood is conferred upon initiates. Often attributive. See also abakwetha sense 2, boguera.
[1803 J.T. Van der Kemp in Trans. of Missionary Soc. I. 439Circumcision is performed on boys of about twelve or fourteen years old, and is accompanied with ceremonies, which seem to be emblems of a total renewal of the person. After he is painted white all over the body, he is driven into a river, and there washed clean; his old garments, &c. are thrown away, and new ones given him.]
1990 Weekend Post 8 Dec. 3The Stellenbosch master’s student who made headlines..when he submitted to Xhosa circumcision rites, is a former headboy and A student.
2. combination
circumcision school, an institution in which initiates are isolated, taught, and circumcised according to custom; the group of young men undergoing this instruction; initiation school. See also to go to the bush (bush noun1 sense 4).
1949 C. Bullock Rina 117They came out in scores, stark naked and painted a ghastly white...‘What are they?’ I asked...‘A circumcision school, our carriers say...They are WaRemba and have the right to kill us according to their ideas.’
1993 S. Dikeni in House & Leisure Nov. 42We used to walk home from circumcision school in the secret of the night.
The period of isolation and initiation, during which circumcision is also performed, after which the status of manhood is conferred upon initiates. Often attributive.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18031993