(2 syl.). The tonsure of St. Peter consists in shaving
the crown and back of the head, so as to leave a ring or “crown” of
The tonsure of James
consists in shaving the entire front of the head. This is sometimes
called “the tonsure of Simon the Magician,” and sometimes “the Scottish
tonsure,” from its use in North Britain.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894