purge

verb
\ˈpərj \
purged; purging

Definition of purge 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to clear of guilt

b : to free from moral or ceremonial defilement

2a : to cause evacuation from purge the bowels

b(1) : to make free of something unwanted purge a manhole of gas purge yourself of fear

(2) : to free (something, such as a boiler) of sediment or relieve (something, such as a steam pipe) of trapped air by bleeding

c(1) : to rid (a nation, a political party, etc.) by a purge

(2) : to get rid of the leaders had been purged

intransitive verb

1 : to become purged

2 : to have or produce frequent evacuations

3 : to cause purgation

purge

noun

Definition of purge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that purges especially : purgative

2a : an act or instance of purging

b : the removal of elements or members regarded as undesirable and especially as treacherous or disloyal

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from purge

Verb

purger noun

Synonyms for purge

Synonyms: Verb

cleanse, purify, sanctify

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

In some cultures, a ritual bath or prayer is performed to purge guilt or evil spirits. The Minoans of ancient Crete may have used human sacrifice as a way of purging the entire community, which is fine for the community but rough on the victims. In many cultures, people periodically purge themselves physically—that is, clean out their digestive tracts—by taking strong laxatives; this used to be a popular springtime ritual, and herbal purgatives were readily available.

Examples of purge in a Sentence

Verb

High-ranking officials were purged from the company following the merger. a day on which the faithful are expected to purge themselves of their sins through prayer and fasting

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tyrants respond to their early successes not by resting on their laurels but by constantly upping the ante more and more, purging the disloyal, and forcing the loyal to submit to more and more ludicrous positions. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 However, the news and chaos reminds me of binging & purging. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "A good offense may be best defense for House GOP," 25 June 2018 These babies may tremble, sweat, cry uncontrollably or even suffer seizures as their little bodies purge the drugs their mothers have taken. Allison Ross, The Courier-Journal, "As drug epidemic sweeps Louisville, pregnant moms get help they need," 14 June 2018 Pratt said in a ruling issued Friday that the harm to wrongly purged voters far outweighs any possible harm to Indiana election officials seeking to protect the integrity of the process. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Judge blocks plan to purge Indiana voters before November election," 11 June 2018 Burning the page, which happens at the end of the exercise, allows us to purge even more of that charge and serves as a symbol of letting go. Habib Sadeghi, Health.com, "Do This for 12 Minutes a Day to Release Negative Emotions," 21 June 2018 Breyer noted that most voters simply ignore the warning notices, leaving their failure to vote as the principal cause for being purged from the rolls. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "U.S. Supreme Court ruling means Wisconsin can continue purging its voter rolls every 4 years," 11 June 2018 Alcantara is etched in as a large part of that future, the top pitching prospect in the system and the jewel right-handed pitcher acquired in a flurry of winter trades that wiped the roster and purged the Marlins outfield. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Marlins' future on display as Sandy Alcantara, Lewis Brinson lead Miami past Mets," 30 June 2018 Nineteen states use voter inactivity in the process of purging their databases, though only a handful make non-voting as central as Ohio does. Greg Stohr, Bloomberg.com, "U.S. Supreme Court Backs States’ Voter-Purge Efforts," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To underscore the challenges in following North Korean affairs, the Yonhap agency reported erroneously in February 2016 that Ri Yong Gil had been executed as part of high-level purges. Brian Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, "North Korea replaces three top military leaders," 4 June 2018 About a dozen people set upon Mayor Yiannis Boutaris at a Saturday ceremony honoring Greek victims of purges by the Turks during World War I and the subsequent Greek-Turkish war. Fox News, "Greek police arrest 2 in mob beating of Thessaloniki's mayor," 20 May 2018 Last year, several Republican senators expressed support in passing a law to protect Mueller from the kind of purge Trump seems intent upon carrying out. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Republicans Can’t Understand Why Trump Is Acting Guilty," 19 Mar. 2018 The New York Times reported on March 11 that 17 of those detained at the Ritz as part of the purge were hospitalized for physical abuse and one later died. Bloomberg.com, "Coming to America: The Saudi Prince’s Charm Offensive," 19 Mar. 2018 The latest Twitter purge has ejected 100,000 of President Trump's followers from the social media site. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Twitter purge wipes out a big chunk of Trump, Obama followers — and Twitter's own," 12 July 2018 One, William Ader, noted the Twitter purge revealed a far slimmer twitterverse. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Twitter purge hits John McCain, Ruben Gallego most among Arizona politicos," 12 July 2018 The purges that followed decimated Turkey’s institutions and further strained relations with its Western partners, most notably Germany and the U.S.; each had citizens swept up and thrown in prison. Bloomberg.com, "Bloomberg," 18 May 2018 That purge continued at the trade deadline, as the Cavs brought in four new players while sending away six, a few of which had close ties to Jefferson. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "Cavaliers excited to see Richard Jefferson again, expecting to hear lots of (soup?) jokes Saturday," 5 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of purge

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for purge

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French purger, from Latin purigare, purgare to purify, purge, from purus pure + -igare (akin to agere to drive, do) — more at act

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about purge

Phrases Related to purge

binge and purge

purge oneself

Statistics for purge

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for purge

The first known use of purge was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for purge

purge

verb

English Language Learners Definition of purge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to remove people from an area, country, organization, etc., often in a violent and sudden way

: to cause something to leave the body

purge

noun

English Language Learners Definition of purge (Entry 2 of 2)

: the often violent and sudden removal of people from an area, country, organization, etc.

purge

verb
\ˈpərj \
purged; purging

Kids Definition of purge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to get rid of Ineffective workers were purged from the company.

2 : to rid of unwanted things or people The heir alone would be able to … purge the school of all who were unworthy to study magic.— J. K. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets

purge

noun

Kids Definition of purge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of ridding of what is unwanted

2 : the removal of members thought to be treacherous or disloyal a purge of party leaders

purge

verb
\ˈpərj \
purged; purging

Medical Definition of purge 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause evacuation from (as the bowels) or of or from the bowels of drugs that purge the bowels purged the patient with a cathartic

2 : to free (itself) of suspended matter usually by sedimentation used of a liquid

intransitive verb

1 : to become purged

2 : to have or produce frequent evacuations

3 : to cause purgation

purge

noun

Medical Definition of purge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that purges especially : purgative

2 : an act or instance of purging

Keep scrolling for more

\ˈpərj \
purged; purging

Legal Definition of purge 

1 : to clear (as oneself or another) of guilt purged himself of contempt

2 : to become no longer guilty of purge the contempt

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on purge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for purge

Spanish Central: Translation of purge

Nglish: Translation of purge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of purge for Arabic Speakers

Comments on purge

What made you want to look up purge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!