One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The act or process of wiping clean, cleansing, scouring, or purging. Also concrete: †an abstersive agent (obsolete).
2Figurative and in figurative contexts.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Guy de Chauliac's Grande Chirurgie. From Middle French, French abstersion and its etymon post-classical Latin abstersion-, abstersio action of wiping away from classical Latin absters-, past participial stem of abstergēre + -iō.
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