One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
with object To wipe away; to wipe clean, cleanse.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in The Grete Herball. From Middle French, French absterger to wipe clean, to wipe off (e.g. the infected matter from a wound) or its etymon classical Latin abstergēre to wipe clean, to wipe off, to wipe away from abs + tergēre to wipe.
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