from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To make clean by wiping; to wipe away; to cleanse; hence, to purge.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To wipe, or make clean by wiping; wash away.
- In medicine: To cleanse by lotions, as a wound or ulcer. To purge. See deterge.
From French and Old French absterger or from Medieval Latin abstergēre, present active infinitive of abstergeō ("wipe off or away"); formed from abs- + tergeō ("to wipe off"). (Wiktionary)