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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cathartically

Contemporary Examples of cathartically

  • Better still, Kill Your Friends, despite its 1997 setting, feels bracingly, cathartically, of the moment.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Sound of Violence

    Taylor Antrim

    February 17, 2009

British Dictionary definitions for cathartically


  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 cathartically



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

cathartically 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.