baptism /ˈbaptɪz(ə)m/

b

I. noun [ mass noun]

1. the Christian religious rite of sprinkling water on to a person’s forehead or of immersing them in water, symbolizing purification or regeneration and admission to the Christian Church. In many denominations, baptism is performed on young children and is accompanied by name-giving.

the sacrament of baptism.
2. [ count noun] a ceremony or occasion at which baptism takes place.

weddings, funerals, and baptisms are carried out in the parish church.
3. a person’s initiation into a particular activity or role, typically one perceived as difficult

this event constituted his baptism as a politician.
II. phrases

baptism of fire
a difficult introduction to a new job or activity.

the summer tour to Australia was truly a baptism of fire.
[from the original sense of ‘a soldier’s first battle’.]
– origin Middle English: from Old French baptesme, via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek baptismos ‘ceremonial washing’, from baptizein ‘immerse, baptize’.

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