Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of a Christian sect flourishing in western Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries that professed a dualistic belief emphasizing ascetic renunciation of the world and was condemned by the Church as heretical.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A member of certain so self-styled Novatian and other Christian sects embracing a form of dualism and extraordinary practices, persecuted by Roman Catholics as heretics.

Etymologies

French Cathare, from sing. of Medieval Latin Catharī, from Late Greek Katharoi, from pl. of Greek katharos, pure.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since the 16th century; from Medieval Latin Catharī, from late Greek καθαροί (katharoí, "the Pure"), plural of Ancient Greek καθαρός (katharós, "pure"). (Wiktionary)

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