pu·​ri·​fy | \ ˈpyu̇r-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce purify (audio) \
purified; purifying

Definition of purify

transitive verb

: to make pure: such as
a : to clear from material defilement or imperfection
b : to free from guilt or moral or ceremonial blemish
c : to free from undesirable elements

intransitive verb

: to grow or become pure or clean

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from purify

purifier \ ˈpyu̇r-​ə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce purify (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for purify


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of purify in a Sentence

We purified the water by boiling it. You can purify the air with a filtration system. a bottle of purified water She believed she could purify herself through constant prayer.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Pomanders were thought to bestow everything from protection to valor on the wearer, but chiefly they were used for health purposes, as they were believed to purify the air—which was something of an obsession during plague years. Beatriz Zimmermann, Town & Country, "The Soothing Power of Scent," 27 Apr. 2021 Offices, factories and other industrial builders are taking a different page from health care property managers and installing hospital-grade heating and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) that also purify the air. Dee Depass, Star Tribune, "COVID will leave lasting changes in Minnesota office and apartment projects," 21 Dec. 2020 The 20,000-square-foot spa complex comprises an indoor pool, a traditional hammam with light therapy, and a new thermal pool, surrounded by 400 plants that add a calm, greenhouse feel and help purify the air. BostonGlobe.com, "A major refresh for a Conn. inn can mean a major refresh for its guests," 22 Apr. 2021 Studies have shown that plants help purify the air, reduce stress, and improve productivity and mood. Niema Jordan, Essence, "Thumbs Turning Green? Your Ultimate Guide To Plant Parenthood Is Here," 22 Mar. 2021 Many of these smaller planes, including regional jets, don't need HEPA filters to purify cabin air because it is never recirculated -- air is constantly refreshed from outside the plane while in flight. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "How to fly safely a year into the pandemic," 9 Apr. 2021 However, neither Fleming nor his fellow scientists throughout England were able to purify the substance so that it might be further studied or used to treat disease. Leonard Lichtblau, Star Tribune, "Big Pharma comes together for greater good," 7 Mar. 2021 After a few short years, researchers from American universities and from pharmaceutical companies developed methods to ferment, extract and purify large batches of clinically useful penicillin. Leonard Lichtblau, Star Tribune, "Big Pharma comes together for greater good," 7 Mar. 2021 In addition to cooling and heating, this SereneLife air conditioner also includes a fan and a dehumidifying mode that helps purify the air and reduces humidity levels. Sam Lauron, Better Homes & Gardens, "The 7 Best Portable Air Conditioners, According to Thousands of Reviews," 9 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'purify.' 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 purify

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for purify

Middle English purifien, from Anglo-French purifier, from Latin purificare, from Latin purus + -ificare -ify

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about purify

Time Traveler for purify

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for purify

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Purify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purify. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for purify



English Language Learners Definition of purify

: to remove dirty or harmful substances from (something)
: to free (someone) from guilt or evil thoughts


pu·​ri·​fy | \ ˈpyu̇r-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce purify (audio) \
purified; purifying

Kids Definition of purify

: to make pure : free from impurities

Comments on purify

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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