[pyoo r-uh-fahy]

verb (used with object), pu·ri·fied, pu·ri·fy·ing.

to make pure; free from anything that debases, pollutes, adulterates, or contaminates: to purify metals.
to free from foreign, extraneous, or objectionable elements: to purify a language.
to free from guilt or evil.
to clear or purge (usually followed by of or from).
to make clean for ceremonial or ritual use.

verb (used without object), pu·ri·fied, pu·ri·fy·ing.

to become pure.

Origin of purify

1250–1300; Middle English purifien < Middle French purifier < Latin pūrificāre. See pure, -ify
Related formspu·ri·fi·ca·tion, nounpu·rif·i·ca·to·ry [pyoo-rif-i-kuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /pyʊˈrɪf ɪ kəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivepu·ri·fi·er, nounnon·pu·ri·fi·ca·tion, nounnon·pu·ri·fy·ing, adjectivere·pu·ri·fi·ca·tion, nounre·pu·ri·fy, verb, re·pu·ri·fied, re·pu·ri·fy·ing.self-pu·ri·fy·ing, adjectiveun·pu·ri·fied, adjectiveun·pu·ri·fy·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for purify

Contemporary Examples of purify

  • "We have an Islamic government, an interior ministry trying to purify its image, and a conservative masculine society," he says.

  • “I picture scientists finding new ways to purify water, or diagnose disease,” Sindi says.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Rebel With a Cause

    Abigail Pesta

    October 21, 2011

  • From just past the city limits came Ernest Hemingway to purify the American language and create another heroic legend.

    The Daily Beast logo

    Don Rose

    November 6, 2008

Historical Examples of purify

  • Germany, he said, had been divinely ordained to conquer the world and purify it.

  • Then they strewed the grass on the sand, to purify it from taint of earth, and then they began.

    Things as They Are

    Amy Wilson-Carmichael

  • That your error may not increase, I will endeavour to purify your soul.'



  • The legislator must purify them, and if he be not a despot he will find this task to be a difficult one.



  • In our case, however, we shall only need to purify the streams before they meet.



British Dictionary definitions for purify


verb -fies, -fying or -fied

to free (something) of extraneous, contaminating, or debasing matter
(tr) to free (a person, etc) from sin or guilt
(tr) to make clean, as in a ritual, esp the churching of women after childbirth
Derived Formspurification, nounpurificatory (ˈpjʊərɪfɪˌkeɪtərɪ), adjective

Word Origin for purify

C14: from Old French purifier, from Late Latin pūrificāre to cleanse, from pūrus pure + facere to make
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 purify

early 14c., "free from spiritual pollution," from Old French purefier "purify, cleanse, refine" (12c.), from Latin purificare "to make pure," from purus "pure" (see pure) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Meaning "free from extraneous matter" is recorded from mid-15c. Related: Purified; purifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper