Definition of purge in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəːdʒ/


[with object]
1Rid (someone) of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition: Bob had helped purge Martha of the terrible guilt that had haunted her
1.1Free someone from (an unwanted feeling, memory, etc.): his hatred was purged
More example sentences
  • It's a common theme in movies, the American who purges bad feelings by facing danger head on, and director Joe Johnston is clumsy with it.
  • The hijackers used fanatical certainty, misplaced religious faith, and dehumanising hatred to purge themselves of the human instinct for empathy.
  • The purpose of tragedy is catharsis, a powerful emotional experience in which the audience purges the emotions of pity and fear.
cleanse, clear, purify, wash, shrive, absolve, free someone from;
make someone pure
rare lustrate
1.2Remove (a group of people considered undesirable) from an organization or place in an abrupt or violent way: he purged all but 26 of the central committee members
More example sentences
  • The film documents the fruit of the Nazi effort to transform human beings into vermin that must be purged as an act of self-defense.
  • The Stalinist purges coincided with diplomatic efforts by the Soviet regime to form alliances with the Western bourgeois democracies against fascist Germany.
  • Anti-Communist labor leaders were purging Communists from unions, and the labor press was losing its independence.
remove, get rid of, clear out, sweep out, expel, eject, exclude, evict, dismiss, sack, oust, axe, depose, eradicate, root out, weed out, scour
informal defenestrate
1.3Remove a group of undesirable people from (an organization or place) in an abrupt or violent way: an opportunity to purge the party of unsatisfactory members
More example sentences
  • She purged the Department of Education's top ranks of educators favoring a traditional pedagogical approach.
  • My editorship came to a rather abrupt end after President John F. Kennedy purged the U.S. Civil War Commission's members and staff.
  • He was purged from the Republican Clubs / The Workers' Party in 1979 as a ‘disruptive influence’.
rid, clear, cleanse, empty, strip, scour, void
rare depurate
1.4 Law Atone for or wipe out (contempt of court): he has a right to apply to the court to purge his contempt
More example sentences
  • I make it plain it is open to you, Mr Rothschild, to apply to the court, in this court, to purge your contempt.
  • But their joy turned to anger after the judge reduced the sentence after agreeing to purge the contempt of court conviction.
  • The men were prepared to purge their contempt of court simultaneously with Shell collapsing its injunction against them.
2Physically remove (something) completely: a substance designed to purge impurities from the body
More example sentences
  • Mill purged the text of almost all direct references to contemporary individuals, organizations, and institutions.
  • Something badly needed to be done to purge the country of its weapons.
  • Having widely publicised their plan to EPO test in Edmonton, the athletics body has provided drugs cheats the necessary time needed to purge their system of the blood-boosting substance.
2.1 [no object] Evacuate one’s bowels, especially as a result of taking a laxative: sufferers eat normally in summer but overeat and purge during winter (as noun purging) occasional binges are followed by self-induced purging or vomiting
More example sentences
  • Although most bulimics purge by vomiting, abuse of laxatives or diuretics also occurs.
  • Bulimics purge by vomiting, strict dieting, fasting (not eating), exercising, or by taking laxatives.
  • Victims of the plague were treated by blood-letting, purging with laxatives and the lancing of the plague-boils.


1An abrupt or violent removal of a group of people: the savagery of government’s political purges
More example sentences
  • The government's purges of the civil service, unions, police, and armed forces also weakened the party's potential for political action.
  • I propose a purge of the party leadership.
  • After the restoration of the absolute monarchy in 1814, Goya narrowly survived a purge.
removal, expulsion, ejection, exclusion, eviction, clearance, clear-out, discharge, dismissal, sacking, ousting, deposition, eradication, rooting out, weeding out
informal defenestration
rare deposal
2 dated A laxative: in this plant was a milky substance which was a drastic purge



Example sentences
  • Irony is the great purger and cleanser of life. Irony is a sort of spiritual massage, rubbing the souls of men.


Middle English (in the legal sense 'clear oneself of a charge'): from Old French purgier, from Latin purgare 'purify', from purus 'pure'.

Words that rhyme with purge

converge, dirge, diverge, emerge, merge, scourge, serge, splurge, spurge, submerge, surge, urge, verge

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: purge

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