Definition of catharsis in English:


Syllabification: ca·thar·sis
Pronunciation: /kəˈTHärsis

noun (plural catharses /-sēz/)

  • 1The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
    More example sentences
    • It's easy to write off Dumont's dark view as cynical, even delusional and childish, and it's even easier to laugh off the film's emotional catharses in order to create a safe distance.
    • At the end of the movie, an ensemble comedy, there are about half a dozen catharses in a two-minute span of time.
    • The ending of the film also presents a twist that effectively erases the catharses that the film's events have caused several of the more prominent characters to undergo.
    emotional release, relief, release, venting; purging, purgation, purification, cleansing; Psychoanalysis abreaction
  • 2 Medicine , • rare Purgation.
    More example sentences
    • These acidify the proximal colon and result in a dose dependent catharsis.
    • I wonder if he knows that catharsis can mean a cleansing or purging of the bowels.


early 19th century (sense 2): from Greek katharsis, from kathairein 'cleanse', from katharos 'pure'. The notion of “release” through drama (sense 1) derives from Aristotle's Poetics.

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