One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sworn witness to the innocence or good character of an accused person.
- ‘My neighbors, as my compurgators, could aver this fact, as seeing my occupations and my attachment to them.’
- ‘It is also noteworthy that in these cases a portion of the compurgators were women.’
- ‘Well, she probably thought the air force officer was a compurgator.’
- ‘Should the accuser bring co-accusers, the defendant had to bring an equal number of compurgators.’
- ‘If these compurgators all agreed in a declaration in favour of the accused, this was held to he a complete acquittal.’
Mid 16th century: medieval Latin, from Latin com- ‘together with’ + purgator, from purgare ‘purify’ (see compurgation).
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