Definition of catharsis
Examples of catharsis in a Sentence
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
Acting is a means of catharsis for her.
Painting is a catharsis for me.
Recent Examples of catharsis from the Web
If the bleaker view is right, then truth is a casualty of the age, and stories like David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson’s exhaustive inventory of Trump’s lies (their word) are little more than exercises in liberal and anti-Trump catharsis.
O’Brien’s librarian is a heartbroken, anal-retentive loner who has a catharsis when someone returns a book that’s 123 years overdue.
As Wes attempts to assimilate his loss by throwing himself into the catharsis of endurance-running, Bill can only look backwards, stuck in the past.
Music offered catharsis, but as a rapper, Prodigy quickly learned how to surface his personality with artful restraint.
Outside the arena, Nashvillians can partake in an unusual catharsis: taking a sledgehammer to an old car with the opposing team’s logo painted on it.
Writing about the catharsis of live music without seeming overly earnest is almost impossible; for teen-agers, its import is even more exaggerated.
As the Marlins poured it on, Dee Gordon’s flash of emotion in the second inning best represented the competitive catharsis.
In the first U.S. performance of the band's The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 in Seattle on Sunday, U2 turned back toward their most beloved album as a source of inspiration, catharsis and curiosity.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catharsis'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Word History of catharsis and cathartic
Catharsis and cathartic both trace to the Greek word kathairein, meaning “to cleanse, purge.” Catharsis entered English as a medical term having to do with purging the body—and especially the bowels—of unwanted material. The adjective cathartic entered English with a meaning descriptive of such a physically cleansing purge. It didn’t take long for people to start using these words figuratively in reference to emotional release and spiritual cleansing.
Origin and Etymology of catharsis
New Latin, from Greek katharsis, from kathairein to cleanse, purge, from katharos
First Known Use: circa 1775See Words from the same year
CATHARSIS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of catharsis for English Language Learners
: the act or process of releasing a strong emotion (such as pity or fear) especially by expressing it in an art form
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