Definition of compurgation in English:

compurgation

noun

Law
historical
  • [mass noun] Acquittal from a charge or accusation obtained by statements of innocence given by witnesses under oath.

    • ‘The Anglo-Saxon preference for compurgation, as proof of guilt or innocence, persisted and only gradually gave way to trial by jury.’
    • ‘Each party had to state his case under oath, and doubts as to the guilt or innocence of the accused person were resolved by either compurgation or ordeal.’
    • ‘Kichynman claimed he had already cleared himself of this charge through compurgation.’
    • ‘The early methods of trial were compurgation or trial by ordeal or wager of law.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

compurgation

/ˌkɒmpəːˈɡeɪʃ(ə)n/