de·​terge | \ di-ˈtərj How to pronounce deterge (audio) \
deterged; deterging

Definition of deterge

transitive verb

: to wash off : cleanse

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Other Words from deterge

deterger noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for deterge



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Deterge is not a particularly common word in the English language. However, it is related to a word with which most of us are likely familiar: "detergent." Like "detergent," "deterge" comes (possibly by way of French déterger) from the Latin verb detergēre, itself from de- and tergēre ("to wipe"). "Deterge" entered the English language in the early 1600s and has primarily been used in medical contexts, such as Ambrose Cooper's 1757 recipe for Vulnerary Water: "This Water is of excellent Service in Contusions, Tumors attending Dislocation, Fractures and Mortifications, the Part affected being bathed with it. Some also use it to deterge foul Ulcers, and incarn Wounds…."

Examples of deterge in a Sentence

deterge the surface using an industrial-strength commercial soap

First Known Use of deterge

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deterge

French or Latin; French déterger, from Latin detergēre, from de- + tergēre to wipe

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Time Traveler for deterge

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The first known use of deterge was circa 1623

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Cite this Entry

“Deterge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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