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(in medieval Europe) a member of any of several rigorously ascetic Christian sects maintaining a dualistic theology.
Historical Examples

Cathar′sis, evacuation of the bowels; Cathart′ic, a purgative medicine; Cathar′tin, the purgative principle of senna.
Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D) Various

Here seems to belong in the order of development the Cathar Eucharist (see Cathars).
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 9, Slice 8 Various

noun (pl) -ars, -ari (-ərɪ), -arists
a member of a Christian sect in Provence in the 12th and 13th centuries who believed the material world was evil and only the spiritual was good

1570s, “religious puritan” (implied in Catharism), from Medieval Latin Cathari “the Pure,” name taken by Novatians and other Christian sects, from New Testament Greek katharezein “to make clean,” from Greek katheros “pure.” Related: Catharist.


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  • Catharine-wheel

    Catherine wheel. Historical Examples It has five lights, and the head of the window contains a fine catharine-wheel. Bell’s Cathedrals: The Abbey Church of Tewkesbury H. J. L. J. Mass

  • Catharsis

    the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music. Medicine/Medical. purgation. Psychiatry. psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up, socially unacceptable affects. discharge of pent-up emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanent relief of the condition. […]

  • Cathartic

    of or relating to catharsis. Also, cathartical. evacuating the bowels; purgative. a purgative. Contemporary Examples One hopes they will lose in court, but if they settle, may the punitive clobbering be profound—and cathartic. The Hearing From Hell Tunku Varadarajan April 26, 2010 The show offers no cathartic “gotcha” moments, no easy answers, and no rapid-fire […]

  • Cathartically

    of or relating to catharsis. Also, cathartical. evacuating the bowels; purgative. a purgative. Contemporary Examples Better still, Kill Your Friends, despite its 1997 setting, feels bracingly, cathartically, of the moment. The Sound of Violence Taylor Antrim February 16, 2009 adjective purgative effecting catharsis noun a purgative drug or agent adj. 1610s, of medicines, from Latin […]

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