a cleansing with water or other liquid, especially as a religious ritual.
the liquid thus used.
Usually, ablutions. a washing of the hands, body, etc.
Historical Examples

Like the other, he comes in priestly and ablutionary office.
Musical Portraits Paul Rosenfeld

The ablutionary fluid is most difficult to be had in places where water is abundant.
Punchinello, Vol. 1. No. 20, August 13, 1870 Various

When the two married, Milly’s people went through that ablutionary process known as washing their hands of her.
Gigolo Edna Ferber

The loch was a little too far from the house to be a convenient place of resort for ablutionary purposes.
Freaks on the Fells R.M. Ballantyne

The ablutionary tank made by Solomon was as large as a hundred and fifty lavatories.
Hebraic Literature; Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala Various

the ritual washing of a priest’s hands or of sacred vessels
(often pl) the act of washing (esp in the phrase perform one’s ablutions)
(pl) (military, informal) a washing place

“ritual washing,” late 14c., from Latin ablutionem (nominative ablutio), noun of action from past participle stem of abluere “to wash off,” from ab- “off” (see ab-) + luere “wash,” related to lavere (see lave).

or washing, was practised, (1.) When a person was initiated into a higher state: e.g., when Aaron and his sons were set apart to the priest’s office, they were washed with water previous to their investiture with the priestly robes (Lev. 8:6). (2.) Before the priests approached the altar of God, they were required, on pain of death, to wash their hands and their feet to cleanse them from the soil of common life (Ex. 30:17-21). To this practice the Psalmist alludes, Ps. 26:6. (3.) There were washings prescribed for the purpose of cleansing from positive defilement contracted by particular acts. Of such washings eleven different species are prescribed in the Levitical law (Lev. 12-15). (4.) A fourth class of ablutions is mentioned, by which a person purified or absolved himself from the guilt of some particular act. For example, the elders of the nearest village where some murder was committed were required, when the murderer was unknown, to wash their hands over the expiatory heifer which was beheaded, and in doing so to say, “Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it” (Deut. 21:1-9). So also Pilate declared himself innocent of the blood of Jesus by washing his hands (Matt. 27:24). This act of Pilate may not, however, have been borrowed from the custom of the Jews. The same practice was common among the Greeks and Romans. The Pharisees carried the practice of ablution to great excess, thereby claiming extraordinary purity (Matt. 23:25). Mark (7:1-5) refers to the ceremonial ablutions. The Pharisees washed their hands “oft,” more correctly, “with the fist” (R.V., “diligently”), or as an old father, Theophylact, explains it, “up to the elbow.” (Compare also Mark 7:4; Lev. 6:28; 11: 32-36; 15:22) (See WASHING.)


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