Definition of compurgation in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌkämpərˈɡāSHən/


Law , historical
Acquittal from a charge or accusation, obtained by statements of innocence given by witnesses under oath.
Example sentences
  • Kichynman claimed he had already cleared himself of this charge through compurgation.
  • The Anglo-Saxon preference for compurgation, as proof of guilt or innocence, persisted and only gradually gave way to trial by jury.
  • In the absence of positive evidence of guilt, and sometimes despite of it, the accused was bound to clear himself by compurgation or by the ordeal.


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin compurgation-, from Latin compurgare, from com- (expressing intensive force) + purgare 'purify' (from purus 'pure').

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