• synonyms


noun, plural Cath·a·ri [kath-uh-rahy] /ˈkæθ əˌraɪ/, Cath·ars.
  1. (in medieval Europe) a member of any of several rigorously ascetic Christian sects maintaining a dualistic theology.
Show More

Origin of Cathar

1630–40; < Late Latin Catharī (plural) < Late Greek hoi Katharoí Novatians, literally, the pure; applied in ML to various sects
Also called Cath·a·rist [kath-er-ist] /ˈkæθ ər ɪst/.
Related formsCath·a·rism, nounCath·a·ris·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cathar

Historical Examples

  • Cathar′sis, evacuation of the bowels; Cathart′ic, a purgative medicine; Cathar′tin, the purgative principle of senna.

    Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D)


  • Here seems to belong in the order of development the Cathar Eucharist (see Cathars).

British Dictionary definitions for cathar


Catharist (ˈkæθərɪst)

noun plural -ars, -ari (-ərɪ) or -arists
  1. a member of a Christian sect in Provence in the 12th and 13th centuries who believed the material world was evil and only the spiritual was good
Show More
Derived FormsCatharism, noun

Word Origin

from Medieval Latin Cathari, from Greek katharoi the pure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cathar



1570s, "religious puritan" (implied in Catharism), from Medieval Latin Cathari "the Pure," name taken by Novatians and other Christian sects, from New Testament Greek katharezein "to make clean," from Greek katheros "pure." Related: Catharist.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper