catharsis SYLLABICATION: ca·thar·sis


NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. ca·thar·ses (-sz) 1. Medicine Purgation, especially for the digestive system. 2. A purifying or figurative cleansing of the emotions, especially pity and fear, described by Aristotle as an effect of tragic drama on its audience. 3. A release of emotional tension, as after an overwhelming experience, that restores or refreshes the spirit. 4. Psychology a. A technique used to relieve tension and anxiety by bringing repressed feelings and fears to consciousness. b. The therapeutic result of this process; abreaction.

ETYMOLOGY: New Latin, from Greek katharsis, from kathairein, to purge, from katharos, pure.

© 2006 thomas w kuppler