The question of whether circumcision is "mutiltation" is contentious. It very much depends on one's attitude towards circumcision, especially whether one considers it beneficial or not. The (5000-page) Shorter Oxford Dictionary says

  Mutilate (miü·tilëit), v. 1534. [f. L. mutilat-, ppl. stem of mutilare to lop off; f. mutilus maimed (cf. Gr. mutiloV [mutilos] hornless); see -ATE3.]   1. trans. To deprive (a person or animal) of a limb or organ of the body; to cut off or otherwise destroy the use of (a limb or organ) 1562.    2. To render (a thing, e.g. a record, etc) imperfect by cutting off or destroying a part 1534.
1. The Greeks . . mutilated the slain THIRLWALL. 2. I wil not in any words wyllinglye mangle or mutilate that honourable mans worke MOR. Hence Mu·tilator, also †-er, one who mutilates.
  Mutilation (miütilëi·§@n), 1535. [ad. L. mutilationem.] The action of mutilating; deprivation of a limb or of an essential part. b. spec. Castration 1737.

[Some symbols are approximate.]

Circumcision fits all of the second part of 1.

to cut off or otherwise destroy the use of (a limb or organ)
There is no doubt that the skin is an organ - the body's biggest. (The penis is independently an organ, of course.) There is no doubt that circumcision cuts off and destroys the foreskin's use. So the questions of whether the foreskin is "essential" (intact men consider theirs to be "of the essence" of their penises, ie integral to them) and whether circumcision renders the penis "imperfect" (it certainly renders the foreskin imperfect) are secondary.

The derivation from the Greek for "hornless" is also suggestive. The farmer may think dehorning cattle improves them, the cattle may not. Likewise castration.


Jewish Journal, August 4, 2009

Mutilation [is] the only honest name for this raw act that my wife and I have twice invited men with knives to come into our house and perform, in the presence of all our friends and family, with a nice buffet and Weekend Cake from Just Desserts. We have been through all of the standard arguments—hygiene, cancer prevention, psychological fitness, the Zero Mostel tradition . . . and found they are all debatable at best.“

- Michael Chabon, "Manhood for Amateurs"


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