TON'SURE, n. [L. tonsura, from tonsus, shaved; tondeo, to clip or shave.]

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

2. In the Romish church, tonsure is 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, who cuts off a part of his hair with prayers and benedictions. Hence tonsure is used to denote entrance or admission into holy orders.

3. In the Romish church, the corona or crown which priests wear as a mark of their order and of their rank in the church.