a: purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art
b: a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension
: elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression
See catharsis defined for English-language learners
Examples of CATHARSIS
Acting is a means of catharsis for her.
Painting is a catharsis for me.
She has learned to have her catharsis, take a deep breath and move on. … she does not dwell on the negative anymore. —Selena Roberts, New York Times, 24 June 2001
… malevolence is expressed in his decision to absent himself from the courtroom, thereby denying some victims of his torture the catharsis of compelling him to hear their stories of survival. —George F. Will, Newsweek, 25 May 1987
… there's the need for catharsis. If you play it all back a second time, you may wear away some of the pain, as you wear away a record with replaying. —Anatole Broyard, New York Times Book Review, 14 Nov. 1982
As soon as we emerged from the gates of the White House, I became aware of that sea of faces. … I wanted to cry for them and with them, but it was impossible to permit the catharsis of tears. —Lady Bird Johnson, 24 Nov. 1963, in A White House Diary, 1970