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From Middle English purgacioun, borrowed from Anglo-Norman purgacion, itself borrowed from Latin pūrgātiō; equivalent to purge +‎ -ation.


purgation (countable and uncountable, plural purgations)

  1. The process or act of purging, such as by the use of a purgative.
    • 1732, George Smith, Institutiones Chirurgicæ: or, Principles of Surgery, [...] To which is Annexed, a Chirurgical Dispensatory, [...], London: Printed [by William Bowyer] for Henry Lintot, at the Cross-Keys against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleetstreet, →OCLC, page 254:
      [] Lanfrank takes Notice of Tract. 3. Doct. 3. cap. 18. ſaying, "I have ſeen many who being full of Humours, have made an Iſſue under the Knee, before due Purgation had been premis'd; whence, by reaſon of the too great Defluxion of Humours, the Legs tumified, ſo that the cauterized Place corrupted, and a Cancer (or rather cacoethic Ulcer) was thereby made, with which great Difficulty was cur'd."
    • 1832, The Edinburgh Review, page 470:
      Seven or eight annual bloodings, and as many purgations — such was the common regimen the theory prescribed to ensure continuance of health [] .
    • 1908, Aristotle; Thomas Taylor, transl., “On the Generation of Animals”, The Treatises of Aristotle, page 278:
      But those females who conceive without menstrual purgations, or who conceive during the time of the menstrual efflux, and not afterwards, [] and in the second instance because, after the completion of the menstrual purgations, the mouth of the womb becomes closed.
    • 1992, Helen Rodnite Lemay, editor, “Introduction”, Women's Secrets: A Translation of Pseudo-Albertus Magnus' De Secretis, page 42:
      William evidently does not have the appreciation for women that Hildegard exhibits, yet he does not consider their monthly purgations to be a source of evil.
  2. The process or act of cleansing from sin or guilt.
    • 1720, Charles Daubuz, A Perpetual Commentary on the Revelation of St. John, page 1030:
      Secondly, The branches of Plants have been us'd in religious Purgations or Expiations. In the Moſaical Law there was one general kind of Sacrifice commanded for Purgation, which conſiſted of an Heifer ſacrificed and burnt to Aſhes; with which, and ſpring water, a Lee was made to ſerve for many ſorts of Purgations.
    • 1969, Peter Heath, The English Parish Clergy on the Eve of the Reformation, published 2007, page 211:
      Records concerning the individual purgations, which tell us about the crime of the offender and the date of his release, are much more capriciously registered: four dioceses, or some eight counties, yield only fifty-four examples between 1450 and 1530; out of twenty-four registers eleven have no such entries.
    • 1995, Michael J. Franklin, Medieval Ecclesiastical Studies: In Honour of Dorothy M. Owen, page 181:
      An intriguing puzzle is set by the Lincoln register of Thomas Bek in which many of the commissions to receive purgations are followed by a space in which the report of the result was to be entered.
  3. (archaic) Exoneration or the act undertaken to achieve exoneration.
    • c. 1598–1600 (date written), William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene iii], lines 456-59:
      Thus do all traitors;
      If their purgation did consist in words,
      They are as innocent as grace itself.
      Let it suffice thee that I trust thee not.
    • c. 1598–1600 (date written), William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene iv], lines 2446-50:
      If any man doubt that, let him put me to my purgation.
      I have trod a measure; I have flatt'red a lady; I have been
      politic with my friend, smooth with mine enemy; I have undone
      three tailors; I have had four quarrels, and like to have fought


See also[edit]



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purgation f (plural purgations)

  1. purgation

Further reading[edit]

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of purgacioun