Word of the Day: catharsis

catharsis [kuh-THAHR-seez]


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


Catharsis came to English in the late 1700s from the Greek katharsis meaning “a cleansing.”