ab·​sterge | \ abzˈtərj, əb-, -bˈst- \

Definition of absterge

: to cleanse especially by wiping : purge

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of absterge

1526, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for absterge

Middle French or Latin; Middle French absterger, from Latin abstergēre, from abs- (variant of ab- ab- entry 1) + tergēre to wipe off

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about absterge

Time Traveler for absterge

Time Traveler

The first known use of absterge was in 1526

See more words from the same year

Statistics for absterge

Cite this Entry

“Absterge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absterge. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

Comments on absterge

What made you want to look up absterge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!