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Purgative can be used as a noun as well as an adjective. For centuries, doctors prescribed purgatives—that is, laxatives—for all kinds of ailments, not knowing anything better to do. Physical cleansing has always reminded people of emotional and spiritual cleansing, as expressed in the saying "Cleanliness is next to godliness". So we may say, for example, that confession has a purgative effect on the soul. Some psychologists used to claim that expressing your anger is purgative; but in fact it may generally be no better for your emotional life than taking a laxative, and can sometimes really foul things up.
Origin and Etymology of purgative
Middle English purgatif, from Late Latin purgativus, from Latin purgatus, past participle
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
First Known Use of purgative
PURGATIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of purgative for English Language Learners
medical : a medicine or food that causes the bowels to empty
Medical Definition of purgative
: a purging medicine : cathartic
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