Definition of catharsis in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈθɑːsɪs/

noun (plural catharses /kəˈθɑːsiːz/)

[mass noun]
1The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions: music is a means of catharsis for them
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.
purging, purgation, purification, cleansing, release, relief, emotional release, freeing, deliverance, exorcism, ridding;
Psychoanalysis  abreaction
rare depuration, lustration
2 Medicine , rare Purgation.
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 (in sense 2): from Greek katharsis, from kathairein 'cleanse', from katharos 'pure'. The notion of ‘release’ through drama (sense 1) derives from Aristotle's Poetics.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cath|ar¦sis

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