Definition of purgative in English:



  • 1Strongly laxative in effect.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If he was indeed suffering from syphilitic symptoms such as burning joint pain and oozing ulcerations, then this portrait could represent a sort of purgative catharsis.’
    • ‘Bulimia nervosa can be difficult to identify because of extreme secrecy about binge eating and purgative behaviour.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This purgative application is generally thought to be safe and effective even for geriatric and pediatric use.’
    • ‘The laxative and purgative properties of Senna were discovered in the 9th century by the Arabs, who spread its use to Europe.’
    • ‘This also applies to some purgative herbs such as rhubarb and senna leaf.’
    • ‘Mention of health at the end of the entry on rhubarb brings to mind purgative powers, plus questions about possible health risks if a lot of rhubarb is eaten.’
    • ‘Chinese people have used it for over 2000 years as a purgative medicine, although some scientists consider it a medical enigma.’
    • ‘The purgative activity of RH appears to be due to rhein and the sennoside components.’
    • ‘Prepared rhubarb is used when one desires to enhance the blood moving or heat clearing effects of the herb, but minimize the purgative action.’
    laxative, aperient, lenitive, cathartic, evacuant, purging
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    1. 1.1Having the effect of ridding one of unwanted feelings or memories.
      ‘the purgative action of language’
      • ‘Olympics have a habit of inducing these purgative phases in host cities.’
      • ‘But when the six percussionists timidly clink their cymbals, it's hard to keep thinking they're high priests presiding over a purgative rite.’
      • ‘The traditional vocabulary calls this the purgative path: We cleanse ourselves in order to keep God in our life.’
      • ‘What's really troubling about someone like Eminem is the very purgative nature of art.’
      • ‘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 need for purgative violence in order to recreate the self hearkens back to the ‘fiery zeale’ of the universal conflagration.’
      • ‘Prior to Election Day, there was a widespread belief that the outcome of the 2000 Election was a fluke, an aberration, that would correct itself, as a sort of natural purgative process, in 2004.’
      • ‘Detoxification, in these narratives of spiritual struggle, counts as the long night of the soul: the body's purgative agony as it pours junk through all available orifices.’
      • ‘Some of them prime your emotions, setting you up for a let down or a purgative, thundering crash.’
      • ‘Dreams carried great significance and were sought through fasting or other purgative ceremonies.’
      • ‘What doesn't get manhandled out gets washed out with whatever purgative their employer prescribes.’
      • ‘We seem to prefer the smile that conceals an inner deception to the honest purgative truth about ourselves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is this purgative function of art to which Ernst Gombrich has appealed in his explication of the ‘grotesque.’’
      purging, purifying, cleansing, cleaning, releasing, relieving, freeing, delivering, exorcising, ridding
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  • 1A laxative.

    ‘a widely employed and useful purgative’
    • ‘Mild oily purgatives like castor oil or bulk laxatives such as linseed or psyllium seeds are recommended.’
    • ‘Rush had given Lewis a list of rules for preserving health, which included prescription of purgatives.’
    • ‘Still, many people, obsessed with their bowels, continue to swell the profits of pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies by consuming purgatives regularly.’
    • ‘Mercury, a purgative to clean the system, and quinine, to treat fever, can cause malaria and typhus sufferers to have symptoms that mimic typhoid and dysentery.’
    • ‘He advocated enemas, emetics, purgatives and sneezing powders.’
    • ‘Hippocrates attributed ‘hysteria’ to a woman's uterus, and blamed ‘melancholia’ on black bile, which he attempted to treat with purgatives.’
    • ‘Medicinal rhubarbs, as a purgative, are among the most important drug plants of all time.’
    • ‘Emphasizing elimination through the overuse of purgatives in an already deficient individual can further deplete the body's store of minerals and essential B vitamins as well as imbalance beneficial intestinal micro-organisms.’
    • ‘In India, Nigella seeds are combined with various purgatives to allay gripping and colic and also help kill and expel parasites.’
    • ‘It is considered a purgative, or a drink to help digestion.’
    • ‘Some of its other traditional uses have been as a mild purgative for chronic constipation and for the treatment of swollen glands.’
    • ‘In one year, Louis XIII received 215 doses of purgatives, 212 enemas and 47 bleedings!’
    • ‘Among the more traditional remedies for plague fever were the various organic purgatives, including phlebotomy, diaphoretics, diuretics, emetics, and laxatives.’
    • ‘Napoleon had been treated for a long time with tartar emetics, and the day he died he had been given a huge dose of calomer as a purgative.’
    • ‘Castor Oil Plant, while the plant is poisonous, the expressed thick, viscid oil is used as a powerful laxative and purgative.’
    • ‘Its low-calorie and high calcium content, and supposed medicinal benefits as a purgative, have brought a new generation of eaters.’
    • ‘Triphala is widely regarded as a purgative and laxative but in fact it is considered a rasayana and rejuvenator.’
    • ‘Purgatives should be taken on an empty stomach.’
    • ‘He rejected other common medical practices of his day such as purgatives and emetics with opium and mercury-based calomel.’
    • ‘His mother then confessed to inducing the colitis with purgatives and twice giving him salt solutions nasogastrically.’
    laxative, enema, aperient, lenitive, cathartic, evacuant
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    1. 1.1A thing that rids one 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).