Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To void feces from the bowels.
  • transitive v. To remove (impurities, as in a chemical solution); clarify.
  • transitive v. To void (feces) from the bowels.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To purify, to clean of dregs etc.
  • v. To purge; to pass (something) as excrement.
  • v. To empty one's bowels of feces.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Freed from anything that can pollute, as dregs, lees, etc.; refined; purified.
  • intransitive v. To become clear, pure, or free.
  • intransitive v. To void excrement.
  • transitive v. To clear from impurities, as lees, dregs, etc.; to clarify; to purify; to refine.
  • transitive v. To free from extraneous or polluting matter; to clear; to purify, as from that which materializes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To purify; clarify; clear from dregs or impurities; refine.
  • To purify from admixture; clear; purge of extraneous matter.
  • To become clear or freed from impurities; clarify.
  • To void excrement.
  • Purged from dregs; clarified; defecated.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. have a bowel movement

Etymologies

Latin dēfaecāre, to clean the dregs from : dē-, de- + faex, faec-, dregs.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the participle stem of Latin dēfaecāre ("to purify"), from de- and faex ("dreg, impurity"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "Former Northwest Orient CEO Donald Nyrop built entire office buildings without a single window– not even the doors were glass – because he didn’t want his employees frittering away time looking outside. I’ve seen the buildings. They are giant gray cement rectangles. He ordered all the doors taken off the bathroom stalls because he didn’t want employees wasting time on the toilet. Can you imagine what it must have been like to work under his leadership? You couldn’t even defecate in solitude."
    - Why You Should Always Eat Lunch Alone

    May 20, 2009