(in the belief of Roman Catholics and others) a condition or place in which the souls of those dying penitent are purified from venial sins, or undergo the temporal punishment that, after the guilt of mortal sin has been remitted, still remains to be endured by the sinner.
any condition or place of temporary punishment, suffering, expiation, or the like.
serving to cleanse, purify, or expiate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use purgatory in a sentence
The purgatory forces him to see what’s worst in both Patricia and himself.
For Plaid’s grand exit to fail, scuttled by a Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit that promised to tie the deal up in purgatory for years to come, “is like the most 2020 thing to happen to a little startup,” bemoans a person close to the company.Plaid without Visa? It might be a blessing in disguise | Jen Wieczner | January 13, 2021 | Fortune
That has left struggling tenants and their landlords in a state of purgatory, in which some renters cannot pay but their landlords cannot do anything about it.Struggling renters face avalanche of evictions without federal aid | Jonathan O'Connell, Anu Narayanswamy | December 25, 2020 | Washington Post
Netflix missed on several metrics yesterday and was punished, and today Intel is joining the video streaming giant in stock-market purgatory.Here’s why Intel’s stock just dropped 10% after reporting earnings | Alex Wilhelm | October 22, 2020 | TechCrunch
Doing so would kick proceedings into judicial purgatory as the WTO’s rulings can’t be implemented until the appeals process is complete.Trump’s prolonged assault on WTO means its ruling against Chinese tariffs is essentially moot | eamonbarrett | September 16, 2020 | Fortune
According to the playbill, the answer is neither heaven nor hell (nor purgatory).The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson (And Tolstoy and Dickens) | Samuel Fragoso | October 26, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Summer got us through our yearly Hell and purgatory and led us to Heaven in June.
Flynn likens the journey of gay Iranians refugees to “eternal purgatory.”
For the past four years, Panahi has been left in a legal purgatory, known in Iran as the Execution of Verdict.
I wondered how many centuries of purgatory it would take to atone for such a sin.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show | Robert W. Chambers | February 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Had they to return to purgatory by themselves—had the heavy white walking-stick to walk off without its owner?Second Edition of A Discovery Concerning Ghosts | George Cruikshank
If "war is hell," then to be in a strange country without credit and funds is certainly purgatory.Ways of War and Peace | Delia Austrian
I'll give you the order of exercises of one of the last days of my purgatory, as I call it.The Seven Cardinal Sins: Envy and Indolence | Eugne Sue
She wondered, rather idly, if she would spend her time in purgatory serving millions of Jane Ellens with iced tea.Young People's Pride | Stephen Vincent Benet
She preferred possible purgatory to present imprisonment, and went back to her duty.The Stones of Paris in History and Letters, Volume I (of 2) | Benjamin Ellis Martin
British Dictionary definitions for purgatory
mainly RC Church a state or place in which the souls of those who have died in a state of grace are believed to undergo a limited amount of suffering to expiate their venial sins and become purified of the remaining effects of mortal sin
a place or condition of suffering or torment, esp one that is temporary
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
Cultural definitions for purgatory
In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the condition of souls of the dead who die with some punishment (though not damnation) due them for their sins. Purgatory is conceived as a condition of suffering and purification that leads to union with God in heaven. Purgatory is not mentioned in the Bible (see also Bible); Catholic authorities defend the teaching on purgatory by arguing that prayer for the dead is an ancient practice of Christianity and that this practice assumes that the dead can be in a state of suffering — a state that the living can improve by their prayers.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.