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.]
1953 P. Lanham Blanket Boy’s Moon 91Libe came back from Circumcision, and a great feast was arranged for all those who had passed through the school.
1973 Daily Dispatch 8 May 2The case is a sequel to the death of M— M—, 15, who was hacked to death with an axe..at a circumcision dance.
1977 P.C. Venter Soweto 44Simon..rejects the tribal ways. Educated as a Christian, he has never been inside a circumcision hut and scoffs at initiation rites.
1982 C. Van Wyk Message in Wind 14Eventually the two tribes grew so close that the boys from both tribes even attended circumcision rites together.
1990 Daily Dispatch 19 July 8He had met the men on his way to attend a circumcision concert at Kubusie.
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.’
1952 H. Klein Land of Silver Mist 47From the hills opposite the store, there came the dirge of tribal song and smoke rose from a lonely hut. ‘Sutu lodge,’ Land explained. ‘There’s a circumcision school up there.’
1965 E. Mphahlele Down Second Ave 16Often, if a Christian chanced to meet a circumcision school, the initiates gave chase and beat him up, swearing at him and all his ancestry in the process.
1972 Drum 8 Apr. 4I passed my standard six in 1966...Now I’ve just come from my circumcision school...will they admit me back into the high school?
1982 Drum July 20The civil servant..asked for protection, saying he was been dragged off to the circumcision school against his will...‘I come from a Christian family. We’re totally opposed to circumcision schools.’
1986 P. Maylam Hist. of Afr. People 29Dingiswayo is said to have abolished the circumcision schools and developed the age-regiments, while Shaka is thought to have introduced full-time military service.
1988 M. Saliso in E. Prov. Herald 13 Feb. 3He had been fetched from his customary circumcision school in the bush by the police to give evidence for the State at the trial.
1989 L.S. Baleka in Weekend Post 23 Dec. 4Our younger brothers and sons will have little respect for their own circumcision schools as they will know in advance what to expect. African men keep what happens at the school strictly secret.
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.

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18031993