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

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 Civil rights groups had challenged that state for having the strictest method of purging voters in the nation. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "U.S. Supreme Court ruling means Wisconsin can continue purging its voter rolls every 4 years," 11 June 2018 Lawyers for the organizations that challenged the policy said a particularly aggressive round of purging in 2015 triggered the lawsuit. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland.com, "U.S. Supreme Court weighs legality of Ohio's voter removal procedure," 10 Jan. 2018 Then in mid-April, Barrows purged all six members of the architectural review committee and handpicked their replacements. Richard Webner, San Antonio Express-News, "Hays Street Bridge apartments closer to reality after neighborhood association’s support," 4 June 2018 Getty Images Last night, Blake Lively made a dramatic move on Instagram: Like Taylor Swift before her, Blake purged her feed of, well, everything. Marie Claire, "Blake Lively Unfollows Ryan Reynolds, Deletes all Her Instagrams," 1 May 2018 Other recent 5-4 decisions upheld a Republican plan to purge voter rolls in Ohio and political district boundaries in Texas that critics argued discriminated against minorities. Jonathan Tamari, Philly.com, "With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, Trump's lasting power is amplified," 27 June 2018 In Beijing, President Xi Jinping has ramped up censorship, purged opponents and removed presidential term limits, effectively letting him rule for life. Time, "Thailand’s Leader Promised to Restore Democracy. Instead He's Tightening His Grip," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Twitter’s purge of suspicious accounts Wednesday has resulted in the social media platform's most popular users taking big hits to their number of followers. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Twitter purge means fewer followers for Trump, Obama, Justin Bieber," 13 July 2018 Dershowitz’s goes on to compare his ostracism to McCarthyism, the government sponsored anti-communist purge that saw thousands of alleged communists to lose their careers in the early 1950s. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Is Alan Dershowitz really a victim of Martha’s Vineyard McCarthyism?," 3 July 2018 My husband, thankfully, was on board with the purge. Elyssa Friedland, chicagotribune.com, "We were drowning in diapers and scheduling sex. But then we got our groove back.," 9 June 2018 Kessler wrote about the reports of a Twitter purge. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Twitter Sheds $3.1 Billion After Suspending Millions of Questionable Accounts," 9 July 2018 This one stars Marisa Tomei and centers on the origin of the purge. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "9 TV Shows and Movies to Watch This Week in Between Your July 4th Festivities," 1 July 2018 In a little over a week, the Supreme Court upheld voter purges, effectively defunded unions and upheld the white nationalist Muslim ban. Jason Johnson, The Root, "It’s Been a Lousy Week in Politics, and Some of It Is Obama’s Fault," 29 June 2018 Reddit is growing at Facebook's expense, yet its scum-and-villainy problem continues to resurface even after repeated purges. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "When Is Instagram Going to Blow It?," 6 June 2018 Poland’s government is drafting new laws to rush its purge of the Supreme Court, racing ahead of efforts by the European Union to halt what authorities in Brussels view as a rapid erosion in rule of law. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "Poland Steps Up Supreme Court Purge," 13 July 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

17 Sep 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

occurring twice a year or every two years

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

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!