Definition of purgatory
1 : an intermediate state after death for expiatory purification; specifically : a place or state of punishment wherein according to Roman Catholic doctrine the souls of those who die in God's grace may make satisfaction for past sins and so become fit for heaven
2 : a place or state of temporary suffering or misery
Examples of purgatory in a Sentence
the purgatory of drug abuse
The marathons were jokingly referred to as one-day purgatories.
Recent Examples of purgatory from the Web
For the last three summer weekends in a row, vehicle collisions on the Seward Highway south of Anchorage have led to road closures and drivers stuck for hours in scenic, interminable Turnagain Arm traffic purgatory.
Maybe even Copenhagen. Carla's lazy eggs in purgatory recipe: Any type of tomatoes will work, though cherry tomatoes hold their shape well.
But for the players who live this time in baseball purgatory, who are part of the team but ostracized anyway, coming off the disabled list is nothing short of returning from the dead.
Dante made those quests literal, his narrator traversing hell, purgatory and paradise in search of his beloved Beatrice.
This pretty much leaves Detroit sports in purgatory.
Eventually, the garage becomes a purgatory, a way station for items straddling a useful life and the dump.
This purgatory story would be macabre if not for its matter-of-fact approach to death and its charming illustrations.
While everybody else was sent up to the safety of the balcony above the cooking floor, Mark, Sam and Heather stayed below, in purgatory.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'purgatory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Purgatory is the place where the soul is cleansed of all impurities, as Dante described in his great poem The Divine Comedy. Today purgatory can refer to any place or situation in which suffering and misery are felt to be sharp but temporary. Waiting to hear the results of a test, or whether you got a good job, can be a purgatory. And an endless after-dinner speech can make an entire roomful of people feel as if they're in purgatory.
Origin and Etymology of purgatory
Middle English, from Anglo-French or Medieval Latin; Anglo-French purgatorie, from Medieval Latin purgatorium, from Late Latin, neuter of purgatorius purging, from Latin purgare
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
PURGATORY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of purgatory for English Language Learners
Purgatory : a state after death according to Roman Catholic belief in which the souls of people who die are made pure through suffering before going to heaven
: a place or state of suffering
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