from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Serving to cleanse, detergent.
- n. A substance used in cleansing; a detergent.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Having cleansing or purgative properties.
- n. Anything that aids in scouring or cleansing, as soap or fuller's earth.
- n. In medicine, a lotion or other application for cleansing a sore: in this sense nearly superseded by detergent.
From French, from Latin abstergens, present participle of abstergo ("wiping off"). (Wiktionary)