1

cathartic

play
adjective ca·thar·tic \kə-ˈthär-tik\

Definition of cathartic

  1. :  of, relating to, or producing catharsis <cathartic drugs> <a cathartic experience>

cathartically

play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of cathartic in a sentence

  1. There's something cathartic about a punch in the nose. —Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, 28 Jan. 2002

  2. But Vietnam is hard to sell as a tidy, cathartic morality tale of troubled times overcome. —Jennifer Homans, New Republic, 2 & 9 Dec. 2002

  3. Many veterans, at first reluctant to speak, ultimately uncorked their emotions in a cathartic explosion. —Stanley Karnow, New York Times Book Review, 22 Nov. 1992

  4. It provokes no healthy tears, whereas Cervantes never fails … to open the cathartic floodgates. —Anthony Burgess, Homage to Qwert Yuiop: Selected Journalism 1978-1985, 1986

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 cathartic

Late Latin or Greek; Late Latin catharticus, from Greek kathartikos, from kathairein (see catharsis)


First Known Use: 1612


2

cathartic

play
noun ca·thar·tic \kə-ˈthär-tik\

Definition of cathartic

  1. :  a medicine that causes the bowels to be purged :  purgative

Origin and Etymology of cathartic

(see 1cathartic)


First Known Use: 1651


Medical Dictionary

1

cathartic

play
adjective ca·thar·tic \kə-ˈthärt-ik\

Medical Definition of cathartic

  1. :  of, relating to, or producing catharsis


2

cathartic

noun ca·thar·tic

Medical Definition of cathartic

  1. :  a cathartic medicine :  purgative


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