pur·​ga·​tion ˌpər-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce purgation (audio)
: the act or result of purging

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web If moviegoing is an act of ritual purgation, Cage must be its high priest, his performances a kind of ecstatic self-flagellation through which we’re cleansed—or, to use Kidman’s term, reborn. Dan Piepenbring, Harper’s Magazine , 18 Jan. 2022 Yet the consequences of viewing restitution as a ritual of guilt and atonement, of self-purification through self-purgation, cannot be waved away. David Frum, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2022 Part of the fantasy of the baths has always been about the grace of purgation — this urge to slough away the lesser parts of ourselves and let our better selves emerge instead: rarefied, whittled, purified. Leslie Jamison, New York Times, 22 Sep. 2020 This purgation is absent from Jeff Buckley’s soft, wounded crooning. Hannah Seidlitz, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020 Frozen yogurt in the afterlife The seventh and eighth centuries saw the growth of teaching about an intermediate place where souls undergo purification and purgation. Matthew Robert Anderson, Quartzy, 27 Nov. 2019 Nobody asked me, but pundits who pooh-pooh postulations of a blue wave in Maryland discount the possibility of unprecedented personal purgations at the polls — that is, voting as catharsis. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, 22 June 2018 Democrats have taken a delicate approach to the self-purgations. David Weigel, Washington Post, 17 July 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'purgation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of purgation was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near purgation

Cite this Entry

“Purgation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purgation. Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


pur·​ga·​tion ˌpər-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce purgation (audio)
: the act of purging
specifically : vigorous evacuation of the bowels (as from the action of a cathartic or an infectious agent)
: administration of or treatment with a purgative

Legal Definition


pur·​ga·​tion pər-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce purgation (audio)
: the act or the result of purging

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