purge

verb
\ ˈpərj How to pronounce purge (audio) \
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

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Other Words from purge

Verb

purger noun

Synonyms for purge

Synonyms: Verb

cleanse, purify, sanctify

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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

If the soil were somehow purged of its microbes, the plant and animal worlds would take a big hit. Quanta Magazine, "Soil’s Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests," 27 Aug. 2019 Remaining gas was being purged so repairs could begin. Washington Post, "World Digest: Aug. 2, 2019," 2 Aug. 2019 In an asexual population, because the members are genetically identical, natural selection can’t purge bad mutations rapidly without killing everyone. Quanta Magazine, "Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex," 13 July 2017 Royal regulators were appointed to purge local corporations of James’s political opponents; the elections were called off when news of the Dutch invasion broke. James P. Sutton, National Review, "In Defense of the Glorious Revolution," 19 July 2019 Sarah Lustig, Downey’s attorney, said the city is producing records in keeping with new law, but also may continue to purge older records based on its retention schedule. Maya Lau, latimes.com, "Destroyed files and long delays: California police slow to release misconduct records," 30 June 2019 Investigative files on district teachers will now be kept in the central offices rather than individual buildings, where certain documents were required to be purged when a new principal took over or an educator moved to a different school. oregonlive.com, "Portland school board adopts controversial public records agreement, with a slight tweak," 26 June 2019 And in the early days following the Beatles’ split, no one seemed more willing to discard their legacy than Lennon, who was learning to purge his personal demons through primal scream therapy. David Gambacorta, Longreads, "Took You By Surprise: John and Paul’s Lost Reunion," 25 June 2019 Critics, in their eulogies, have speculated that the creation of Disney+, Disney’s own streaming platform, meant that Netflix opted to purge its library of Marvel titles rather than compete. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The Marvel-Netflix Universe’s Final Hero," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Stalinist purges of the late 1930s were Russia’s darkest era before World War II. Will Englund, Washington Post, "This Russian forest symbolized Stalin’s brutality. Now some wonder whether the Finns should share the blame.," 14 Sep. 2019 Early on, Kim consolidated his grip on power with purges of former top aides. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Great Successor’ paints a macabre portrait of Kim Jong Un," 24 Aug. 2019 Officials credit improved co-ordination between agencies, as well as a sweeping purge of state institutions directed against members of the Gulen movement, an Islamic fraternity accused of spearheading the 2016 coup. The Economist, "How Turkey deals with returning Islamic State fighters," 15 Aug. 2019 Not surprisingly, two of Xi’s signature policies have been to conduct a purge of top officials (in the guise of an anticorruption campaign) and to abolish term limits. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, "China’s ‘Black Week-end’," 17 June 2019 Under pressure, Poland reversed a purge of the judiciary. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The 7 biggest foreign news stories to watch in 2019, from Brexit to North Korea," 24 Dec. 2018 Growing pains are expected in the first year of a new regime, the first season that follows a roster purge. Omar Kelly, sun-sentinel.com, "Kelly: Talent-starved Dolphins haven’t fixed any of team’s 2018 problems | Commentary," 14 Aug. 2019 Tensions culminated in late February with a dramatic corporate purge. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, "He ordered ‘The Office.’ Can Kevin Reilly make HBO Max a hit?," 31 July 2019 Following years of purges within the military to establish its fealty, Xi began assuming the title in 2016 as a symbol of his political control over the armed forces. Washington Post, "China takes aim at U.S., Taiwan in new military blueprint," 24 July 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for purge

Last Updated

1 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for purge

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

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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 How to pronounce purge (audio) \
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 How to pronounce purge (audio) \
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

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\ ˈpərj How to pronounce purge (audio) \
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

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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

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