See more synonyms for cathartic on
  1. a purgative.

Origin of cathartic

1605–15; < Late Latin catharticus < Greek kathartikós fit for cleansing. See catharsis, -tic
Related formsca·thar·ti·cal·ly, adverbca·thar·ti·cal·ness, nounhy·per·ca·thar·tic, adjectivenon·ca·thar·tic, adjective, nounnon·ca·thar·ti·cal, adjectivesem·i·ca·thar·tic, adjectiveun·ca·thar·tic, adjective

Synonyms for cathartic

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cathartic

purgative, cleaning, cleansing

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British Dictionary definitions for cathartic


  1. purgative
  2. effecting catharsis
  1. a purgative drug or agent
Derived Formscathartically, adverb
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 cathartic

1610s, of medicines, from Latin catharticus, from Greek kathartikos "fit for cleansing, purgative," from katharsis "purging, cleansing" (see catharsis). General sense is from 1670s. Related: Cathartical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cathartic in Medicine


  1. Inducing catharsis; purgative.
  1. An agent for purging the bowels, especially a laxative.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.