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See also: Purgatory


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From Latin purgātōrium (cleansing). Cognate to English purge.



purgatory (countable and uncountable, plural purgatories)

  1. (Christianity) Alternative letter-case form of Purgatory
  2. Any situation where suffering is endured, particularly as part of a process of redemption.
    • 1605, Nicholas Breton, An Olde Mans Lesson, and a Young Mans Loue, London: Edward White,[1]
      [] many Gods breedeth heathens miseries, many countries trauailers humors, many wiues mens purgatories, and many friends trustes ruine:
    • 1774, John Burgoyne, The Maid of the Oaks, London: T. Becket, Act I, Scene 1, p. 6,[2]
      I laid my rank and fortune at the fair one’s feet, and would have married instantly; but that Oldworth opposed my precipitancy, and insisted upon a probation of six months absence—It has been a purgatory!
    • 1853, Elizabeth Gaskell, Ruth, Chapter 25,[3]
      It might be [] that Ruth had worked her way through the deep purgatory of repentance up to something like purity again; God only knew!
    • 1904, Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, Chapter 10,[4]
      Later came midsummer, with the stifling heat, when the dingy killing beds of Durham’s became a very purgatory; one time, in a single day, three men fell dead from sunstroke.
    • 1997, J. M. Coetzee, Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life, Penguin, Chapter 11, p. 100,[5]
      [] that would mean he would be irrecoverably Afrikaans and would have to spend years in the purgatory of an Afrikaans boarding-school, as all farm-children do, before he would be allowed to come back to the farm.

Related terms[edit]



purgatory (comparative more purgatory, superlative most purgatory)

  1. Tending to cleanse; expiatory.

See also[edit]