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Definition of "catharsis" [ca•thar•sis]

  • Medicine Purgation, especially for the digestive system. (noun)
  • A purifying or figurative cleansing of the emotions, especially pity and fear, described by Aristotle as an effect of tragic drama on its audience. (noun)
  • A release of emotional tension, as after an overwhelming experience, that restores or refreshes the spirit. (noun)
  • Psychology A technique used to relieve tension and anxiety by bringing repressed feelings and fears to consciousness. (noun)
  • Psychology The therapeutic result of this process; abreaction. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "catharsis" in a sentence
  • "You saw them disagreeing even on whether we can use the -- the term catharsis here."
  • "The ancient Greeks used the term catharsis for the cleansing of both the body by medicine and the soul by art."
  • "The term catharsis has been used for centuries as a medical term meaning a"