1. (Philosophie) Purification par le spectacle.
2. Libération de sentiments refoulés.
ETYM New Lat., from Greek. Related to Cathartic.
1. Purging the body by the use of a cathartic to stimulate evacuation of the bowels; SYN. katharsis.
2. (Psychoanalysis) Purging of emotional tensions; SYN. katharsis, abreaction.
Purging; Literature, purging of emotions by tragedy.
Emotional purging and purification brought about by the experience of pity and fear, as in tragic drama. Aristotle in his Poetics used the term to explain the audience’s feelings of relief or pleasure in watching the suffering of characters in a tragedy brought low by their own mistakes or cruel fate.