: 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
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 Bingeing and purging — body dysmorphic disorder comes to mind.—Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2023 Other recommendations provide guidelines for auditing and purging old warrants maintained in databases.—WIRED, 14 Sep. 2023 City and company officials said several times that the data collected is owned by San Diego and is purged regularly.—Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Oct. 2023 That’s probably not a huge surprise, as Max has purged a great deal of content since the closing of the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger in 2022.—Joe Otterson, Variety, 14 Sep. 2023 He was pressured by the hard right to slash government spending, open an impeachment inquiry into Biden, purge the Justice Department, press for indictments against the president’s son Hunter Biden, and cut funding to Ukraine for its war against Russia.—Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 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 After surviving the Jedi purge and being rescued from the clutches of her former master, Darth Vader (aka Anakin Skywalker), Ahsoka finds herself on a quest to save the fragile New Republic.—Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 22 Aug. 2023 Days after that meeting, Xi sacked the two top generals of the PLA Rocket Force, an elite unite overseeing the nation’s arsenal of nuclear and ballistic missiles, sparking concerns of a broader purge in the military.—Nectar Gan, CNN, 24 Oct. 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