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

Recent Examples of cathartic from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cathartic.' 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 cathartic

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


2

cathartic

play
noun ca·thar·tic \kə-ˈthär-tik\

Definition of cathartic

  1. :  a medicine that causes the bowels to be purged (see 1purge 2a) :  purgative

Origin and Etymology of cathartic

see 1cathartic


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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