Definition of purgative in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpərɡədiv/


1Strongly laxative in effect.
Example sentences
  • The laxative and purgative properties of Senna were discovered in the 9th century by the Arabs, who spread its use to Europe.
  • A paste of the roots mixed with milk works as a laxative but with violent cathartic effect compared to the purgative jalap Ipomoea purga from which the true and milder jalap is extracted.
  • If the fortunes made from purgative pills had been devoted to the hospitals which treat the victims of their abuse, the financial problems of the voluntary hospitals would have been solved.
1.1Having the effect of ridding someone of unwanted feelings or memories: the purgative action of language
More example sentences
  • The traditional vocabulary calls this the purgative path: We cleanse ourselves in order to keep God in our life.
  • It was, therefore, to take a leading trait of character, in this instance the uncompromising, unbending business ethic of a London merchant, and to trace its damaging development and its ultimate, purgative downfall.
  • The savage stomping dance; the primitive, purgative rite; a music of cosmic rigour - you don't have to go far from the Cité de la Musique to find glaring precedents.


1A laxative.
Example sentences
  • Still, many people, obsessed with their bowels, continue to swell the profits of pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies by consuming purgatives regularly.
  • Castor Oil Plant, while the plant is poisonous, the expressed thick, viscid oil is used as a powerful laxative and purgative.
  • Triphala is widely regarded as a purgative and laxative but in fact it is considered a rasayana and rejuvenator.
Medicine  aperient
dated purge
1.1A thing that rids someone of unwanted feelings or memories: confrontation would be a purgative


Late Middle English: from Old French purgatif, -ive, from late Latin purgativus, from purgat- 'purified', from the verb purgare (see purge).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pur·ga·tive

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