verb (used with object), purged, purg·ing.

verb (used without object), purged, purg·ing.

to become cleansed or purified.
to undergo or cause purging of the bowels.


Origin of purge

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English purgen < Old French purg(i)er < Latin pūrgāre to cleanse; (noun) Middle English < Old French, derivative of the v.
Related formspurge·a·ble, adjectivepurg·er, nounun·purge·a·ble, adjectiveun·purged, adjective

Synonyms for purge

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for purging

Contemporary Examples of purging

Historical Examples of purging

  • Is the cold of the earth's night pleasant to him after the purging fire?

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • But less of this happened, we may feel sure, than a purging away of the dross.

    The Balladists

    John Geddie

  • The perfume of his romance suffused her, purging away all that was unworthy.

  • And as passive resistance was their attitude, his purging scheme was abortive.

    England and Germany

    Emile Joseph Dillon

  • If I find it defective, I should serve it by purging it of its defects.

British Dictionary definitions for purging



(tr) to rid (something) of (impure or undesirable elements)
(tr) to rid (a state, political party, etc) of (dissident or troublesome people)
  1. to empty (the bowels) by evacuation of faeces
  2. to cause (a person) to evacuate his bowels
  1. to clear (a person) of a charge
  2. to free (oneself) of guilt, as by atonementto purge contempt
(intr) to be cleansed or purified


the act or process of purging
the elimination of opponents or dissidents from a state, political party, etc
a purgative drug or agent; cathartic
Derived Formspurger, noun

Word Origin for purge

C14: from Old French purger, from Latin pūrgāre to purify
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 purging



c.1300, "clear of a charge or suspicion;" late 14c., "cleanse, clear, purify," from Anglo-French purger, Old French purgier "wash, clean; refine, purify" morally or physically (12c., Modern French purger) and directly from Latin purgare "cleanse, make clean; purify," especially of the body, "free from what is superfluous; remove, clear away," figuratively "refute, justify, vindicate" (also source of Spanish purgar, Italian purgare), from Old Latin purigare, from purus "pure" (see pure) + root of agere "to drive, make" (see act (n.)). Related: Purged; purging.



1560s, "that which purges," from purge (v.). Meaning "a purgative, an act of purging" is from 1590s. Political sense from 1730. Earliest sense in English was the now-obsolete one "examination in a legal court" (mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

purging in Medicine




To cause evacuation of the bowels.


The act or process of purging.
Something that purges, especially a medicinal purgative.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.