• WordNet 3.6
    • n ablution the ritual washing of a priest's hands or of sacred vessels
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Ablution (R. C. Ch) A small quantity of wine and water, which is used to wash the priest's thumb and index finger after the communion, and which then, as perhaps containing portions of the consecrated elements, is drunk by the priest.
    • Ablution The act of washing or cleansing; specifically, the washing of the body, or some part of it, as a religious rite.
    • Ablution The water used in cleansing. "Cast the ablutions in the main."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n ablution In a general sense, the act of washing; a cleansing or purification by water.
    • n ablution Any ceremonial washing. Among the Oriental races, a washing of the person or of parts of it, as the hands and face, and among the Hebrews also of garments and vessels, as a religious duty on certain occasions, or in preparation for some religious act, as a sign of moral purification, and sometimes in token of innocence of, or absence of responsibility for, some particular crime or charge (whence the expression “to wash one's hands of anything”). The Mohammedan law requires ablution before each of the five daily prayers, and permits it to be performed with sand when water cannot be procured, as in the desert.
    • n ablution In the Roman Catholic Church: The washing of the feet of the poor (John xiii. 14) on Maundy or Holy Thursday, called mandatum. The washing of the celebrant's hands before and after communion. In the Eastern Church, the purification of the newly baptized on the eighth day after baptism.
    • n ablution In the Roman Catholic Church, the wine and water which after communion are separately poured into the chalice over the thumb and index-finger of the officiating priest, who drinks this ablution before going on with the closing prayers.
    • n ablution In chem., the purification of bodies by the affusion of a proper liquor, as water to dissolve salts.
    • n ablution In medicine, the washing of the body externally, as by baths, or internally, by diluent fluids.
    • n ablution The water used in cleansing.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Ablution ab-lōō′shun act of washing, esp. the body, preparatory to religious rites: any ceremonial washing, symbolic of moral purification: the wine and water used to rinse the chalice, drunk by the officiating priest
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. ablutio, fr. abluere,: cf. F. ablution,. See Abluent
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. ablutioab, away, luĕre = lavāre, to wash.


In literature:

Doubtless it implied 'progress,' and would assist in the much-needed ablution of the streets and kennels.
"The English in the West Indies" by James Anthony Froude
For such a hot bath is the only form of complete ablution.
"To Lhassa at Last" by Powell Millington
All is forgotten except the cool ablution of evening upon the separate leaves.
"London Impressions" by Alice Meynell
Throngs of bathing pilgrims, of both sexes, were gathered for their morning ablutions.
"My Trip Around the World" by Eleonora Hunt
Ablutions were performed here day and night.
"The Shadow" by Mary White Ovington
He went into another room to perform his ablutions, and Hepsy was left alone, her veins thrilling, her head dizzy, and all her nerves unstrung.
"Father Brighthopes" by John Townsend Trowbridge
Water was too scarce and precious to be wasted on personal ablutions.
"The Irish at the Front" by Michael MacDonagh
The bather lies on a bench in the suffocating atmosphere, soaps himself, and ends his ablutions with ice-cold water.
"Russian Life To-day" by Right Rev. Herbert Bury
On the banks of this lake I saw the remains of a staircase, hewn in the rock, and used for the ceremonies of ablution.
"The Book of Buried Treasure" by Ralph D. Paine
He next performed his ablutions in an amateurish and perfunctory fashion, scrupulously observing a well-defined waterline.
"Bransford of Rainbow Range" by Eugene Manlove Rhodes

In poetry:

If thou wouldst, nightly, leave the pole,
To enjoy a regular ablution
In the North Sea, or Symmes's hole,
Our 'Patriarchal Institution,'
From which thou findest many a ransom,
Would, doubtless, give thee something handsome.
"Slaveholder's Address To The North Star" by John Pierpont
'Tis proposed that we shall lug a
Myriad pipes to Mugga Mugga -
Water-pipes to get the wetness to the city's thirsty crowd
Water to ablute and bathe in?
Nay! The language will be scathin'
When the Mugga mugs discover: "NOTICE - BATHING NOT ALLOWED."
"Mugga Mugga" by C J Dennis

In news:

I remember coming out of a college science lab once to make ablutions before prayer in the bathroom.
Sure I use the hi-tech soft bristled thing when I'm at home, but when out on the road, nothing adds a debonair touch to the otherwise lonely nightly ablutions than a splash of color from Sir Paul.