Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To rid of impurities; cleanse.
  • transitive v. To rid of foreign or objectionable elements.
  • transitive v. To free from sin, guilt, or other defilement.
  • intransitive v. To become clean or pure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To cleanse (something), or rid (it) of impurities
  • v. To free (someone) from guilt or sin

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To grow or become pure or clear.
  • transitive v. To make pure or clear from material defilement, admixture, or imperfection; to free from extraneous or noxious matter
  • transitive v. Hence, in figurative uses: (a) To free from guilt or moral defilement.
  • transitive v. To free from ceremonial or legal defilement.
  • transitive v. To free from improprieties or barbarisms.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make pure or clear; free from contamination or extraneous admixture: as, to purify liquors or metals; to purify the blood; to purify the air.
  • To make ceremonially clean; cleanse or free from whatever pollutes or renders ceremonially unclean and unfit for sacred service.
  • To free from guilt, or the defilement of sin; free from whatever is sinful, vile, or base.
  • To elevate and free from barbarisms or inelegances: as, to purify a language.
  • To grow or become pure or clear.

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

  • v. make pure or free from sin or guilt
  • v. become clean or pure or free of guilt and sin
  • v. remove impurities from, increase the concentration of, and separate through the process of distillation

Etymologies

Middle English purifien, from Old French purifier, from Latin pūrificāre : pūrus, clean; see pure + -ficāre, -fy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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