purgative

adjective
pur·ga·tive | \ˈpər-gə-tiv \

Definition of purgative 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: purging or tending to purge

purgative

noun

Definition of purgative (Entry 2 of 2)

: a purging medicine : cathartic

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Did You Know?

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.

Examples of purgative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Saline police chief Jerrod Hart said management got a tip from an employee who had been made aware of the brownies’ purgative properties, and after confiscating the offending baked goods, contacted the authorities. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Woman Baked Laxative-Filled Brownies for Co-worker’s Good-bye Party," 15 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Blackshirts forced their opponents to drink castor oil and other purgatives, and then sent them home, wrenching with pain and covered in their own feces. Michael Ebner, Slate Magazine, "“This Is the Violence of Which I Approve”," 30 Jan. 2017 The persistent and sickening violence of Detroit could work as a powerful purgative, a corrective medicine for deprogramming those who doubt the reality of police brutality. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "Is Detroit’s Violence Gratuitous?," 8 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'purgative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of purgative

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for purgative

Adjective

Middle English purgatif, from Late Latin purgativus, from Latin purgatus, past participle

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Time Traveler for purgative

The first known use of purgative was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for purgative

purgative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of purgative

medical : a medicine or food that causes the bowels to empty

purgative

adjective
pur·ga·tive | \ˈpər-gət-iv \

Medical Definition of purgative 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: purging or tending to purge : cathartic

Other Words from purgative

purgatively adverb

purgative

noun

Medical Definition of purgative (Entry 2 of 2)

: a purging medicine : cathartic

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Comments on purgative

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