catharsis

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek κάθαρσις (kátharsis, cleansing, purging), from καθαίρω (kathaírō, I cleanse). Coined in the dramatic-emotional sense by Aristotle.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

catharsis (plural catharses)

  1. (drama) A release of emotional tension after an overwhelming vicarious experience, resulting in the purging or purification of the emotions, as through watching a dramatic production (especially a tragedy).
  2. Any release of emotional tension to the same effect, more widely.
  3. A purification or cleansing, especially emotional.
  4. (psychology) A therapeutic technique to relieve tension.
  5. (medicine) Purging of the digestive system.

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