: the removal of elements or members regarded as undesirable and especially as treacherous or disloyal
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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.
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
Among the undergraduate majors set to be purged or restructured were music performance, environmental and community planning, art history, German, Russian, Chinese, French, and Spanish.—Oliver Whang, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2023 The call for parental notification policies has expanded into a push to ban Pride flags on school campuses, reject school diversity programs and purge classrooms and libraries of books that explore gender and sexuality or feature LGBTQ+ figures.—Priscella Vega, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2023 These tolerance checkpoints ensure that autoreactive immune cells are either purged from the body or held in permanent lockdown and unable to engage in inappropriate responses that would target healthy tissue.—Aimee Pugh Bernard, Discover Magazine, 24 Nov. 2023 Back in May, news hit that Google would be purging dormant accounts, which seemed to include countless YouTube videos.—Alphonse Pierre, Pitchfork, 3 Nov. 2023 Only a handful of studies—mostly from the 1980s—have looked into the caloric effects of purging through laxative misuse.—Lori Youmshajekian, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2023 Scheindlin pointed to the vague ideas of an endgame floated by Israeli officials and commentators in the still-remote scenario that Gaza is effectively purged of Hamas fighters.—Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2023 Among Trump’s second-term proposals are the destruction of NATO’s principle of collective defense, the purging the civil service, and the weaponization of the Justice Department against his political rivals.—Matt Ford, The New Republic, 2 Nov. 2023 Data will be stored on the city’s cloud servers and automatically purged after 30 days.—Tammy Murga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Oct. 2023
The disappearance and purges of officials who present China’s face to the world — first, the foreign minister and most recently the defense minister — have raised questions about turmoil within the Chinese Communist Party under Xi’s command and embarrassed the Chinese state.—Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2023 The purges of the 1930s plundered the country’s monasteries and temples — there had been some 700 in the 19th century — which Orgil described as repositories of folklore, history, traditional medicine and learning.—Aatish Taseer, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2023 And so it was hoisted by a helicopter and taken to a clean room there in Utah, and then there were tests done, and then there was a nitrogen purge.—Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Nov. 2023 That's because this purge, undertaken for security reasons according to Google, only applies to inactive personal accounts.—Davey Winder, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 LaRose had told county boards over the summer to pause any purges ahead of an August special election, in which Republicans sought to raise the threshold for ballot initiatives to 60 percent of votes.—Tori Otten, The New Republic, 31 Oct. 2023 Recently, the Party has signalled that the purge of the private sector is over, but many have grown wary.—Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 5 was composed in 1937 at the height of Stalin’s purges.—Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Oct. 2023 The White House announced on Sunday that its national security adviser met over the weekend with China’s top diplomat in Malta, as part of efforts to keep communication open between the two nations and as political purges roil elite circles in Beijing.—Edward Wong, New York Times, 17 Sep. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'purge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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