noun \ˈpər-gə-ˌtr-ē\

Purgatory : a state after death according to Roman Catholic belief in which the souls of people who die are made pure through suffering before going to heaven

: a place or state of suffering

plural pur·ga·to·ries

Full Definition of PURGATORY

:  an intermediate state after death for expiatory purification; specifically :  a place or state of punishment wherein according to Roman Catholic doctrine the souls of those who die in God's grace may make satisfaction for past sins and so become fit for heaven
:  a place or state of temporary suffering or misery

Examples of PURGATORY

  1. the purgatory of drug abuse
  2. The marathons were jokingly referred to as one-day purgatories.


Middle English, from Anglo-French or Medieval Latin; Anglo-French purgatorie, from Medieval Latin purgatorium, from Late Latin, neuter of purgatorius purging, from Latin purgare
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Christian Religious Terms

Pentateuch, blasphemy, curate, doxology, eremite, iconoclasm, liturgy, orison, pneuma, reliquary


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In Roman Catholic doctrine, the condition of those who have died in a state of grace but have not been purged of sin. These remaining sins include unforgiven venial sins or forgiven mortal sins. Souls burdened by such sins must be purified before entering heaven. The church also teaches that souls in purgatory may be aided by efforts of the living faithful through prayers, almsgiving, indulgences, and other works. The existence of purgatory has been denied as unbiblical by Protestant churches and most Eastern Orthodox churches.


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