• WordNet 3.6
    • n purgatory (theology) in Roman Catholic theology the place where those who have died in a state of grace undergo limited torment to expiate their sins
    • n purgatory a temporary condition of torment or suffering "a purgatory of drug abuse"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Purgatory A state or place of purification after death; according to the Roman Catholic creed, a place, or a state believed to exist after death, in which the souls of persons are purified by expiating such offenses committed in this life as do not merit eternal damnation, or in which they fully satisfy the justice of God for sins that have been forgiven. After this purgation from the impurities of sin, the souls are believed to be received into heaven.
    • a Purgatory Tending to cleanse; cleansing; expiatory.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • purgatory Tending to cleanse; cleansing; expiatory.
    • n purgatory In the belief of Roman Catholics and others, a place of purgation in which the souls of those dying penitent are purified from venial sins, or undergo the temporal punishment which, after the guilt of mortal sin has been remitted, still remains to be endured by the sinner. It is not considered as a place of probation; for the ultimate salvation of those in purgatory is assured, and the impenitent are not received into purgatory. The souls in purgatory are supposed, however, to receive relief through the prayers of the faithful and through the sacrifice of the mass. The common belief in the Latin Church is that the purgatorial suffering is by fire; the Greek Church, however, does not determine its nature.
    • n purgatory Any place or state of temporary suffering or oblivion.
    • n purgatory A gorge or cleft between perpendicular or steeply inclined walls of rock. It is nearly the same as flume (used as a topographical word), except that localities called flumes in New England always have a stream of water running through them, which the purgatories have not.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Purgatory purging or cleansing: expiatory
    • ***


  • Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
    “Happy is the man who hath never known what it is to taste of fame --to have it is a purgatory, to want it is a Hell!”
  • Arnold Bennett
    “Of all the inhabitants of the inferno, none but Lucifer knows that hell is hell, and the secret function of purgatory is to make of heaven an effective reality.”
  • Abraham Lincoln
    “Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. F. purgatoire,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. purger—L. purgāre, -ātumpurus, pure, agĕre, to do.


In literature:

Carved out of the mountain in the first circle of a terrace of Purgatory are scenes illustrative of humility.
"Dante: "The Central Man of All the World"" by John T. Slattery
We've merely to think of the purgatory in which we are placed.
"I.N.R.I." by Peter Rosegger
I hope it may be put to my account in purgatory, my Martin.
"The House of Walderne" by A. D. Crake
Michael spent a breakfast hour in purgatory.
"The Man and the Moment" by Elinor Glyn
The life led by the unhappy woman at Vannier's, where she was a prey to this trio of scoundrels, was a purgatory of humiliations and misery.
"The House of the Combrays" by G. le Notre
Mr. Fairfax acquiesced, and two or three years was the term of purgatory to which Bessie heard herself condemned.
"The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax" by Harriet Parr
Yet must he look once more, though to an envious soul the sight of a brother's happiness is like the torment of purgatorial fire.
"Autumn Leaves" by Various
It was worse than dreaming of being in purgatory!
"The Actress in High Life" by Sue Petigru Bowen
In the same way, to those who believe in purgatory, to pray for the dead is as natural and as rational as to pray for the living.
"Is Life Worth Living?" by William Hurrell Mallock
How much such thoughts occupied them we may see from Dante's great poem describing a vision of the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise.
"Michelangelo" by Estelle M. Hurll

In poetry:

Ha! but I did not read the whole.
I see it now; the gain
May be applied to any soul
In purgatorial pain.
""Although no stupid scoffer, I"" by Alfred Austin
Possessing two immortal traits,
In Purgatory I won't not linger,
But rising over jealousy
I'll leave behind me kingdoms' shine.
"The Swan" by Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin
Two roads there are, wherein all men must go;
To ruin, one — to life, the other leads —
A third, no man can from the gospels show,
Which he that goes to purgatory treads.
"Concerning Purgatory " by Rees Prichard
In vain did Christ pour out his precious blood,
(His death and sufferings all entirely lost)
That we might wash in that all-cleansing flood;
If Purgatory such effects can boast.
"Concerning Purgatory " by Rees Prichard
The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.
"Four Quartets 2: East Coker" by T S Eliot
Like one in purgatory, I learned
The loss of hope. For none returned,
And long in darkening dream I lay.
Then came a ghost whose warning breath
Gasped from an agony of death,
'No, not that way; no, not that way.'
"The Road To Ruin" by Siegfried Sassoon

In news:

How Colin Stetson helped save the sax from cheesy '80s purgatory.
Is this what purgatory looks like.
Everyone's favorite cartoon death metal band, Dethklok, are on the verge of releasing their third album, 'Dethalbum III,' but fans must wait in purgatory no more, as a piece of the upcoming record has been officially released.
The beginning of summer, when the kids are finally released from school, and Gadgets are finally released from the Purgatory between Digitimes Taiwan rumor and Midwestern Best Buy store shelf.
The match was made in purgatory.
Sneak Peek of all-new BONES episode - "The Patriot in Purgatory ".
Purgatory reported receiving 15 inches of natural snow for the season.
It's a thin beginning at Purgatory .
Portrait of Premier League Purgatory .
SOUTHAMPTON — The "haunted" Purgatory House is no more.
Purgatory awaits at the gym.
At the Y, I ride a fake bicycle and also swim, exercises that may shorten my post-knee surgery time in purgatory .
Silver Lake's Cha Cha Lounge looks like a collision between Mexico's Day of the Dead and disco fever — could this be purgatory .
Almost - it's a Purgatory cocktail.
What is purgatory , and why do we pray for the dead.

In science:

When I was a first-term graduate student some 36 years ago, it was said that the field of general relativity is “a theorist’s paradise and an experimentalist’s purgatory”.
Was Einstein Right? Testing Relativity at the Centenary
There was a time, as late as the 1960s, when general relativity was considered a theorist’s paradise and an experimentalist’s purgatory.
Resource Letter PTG-1: Precision Tests of Gravity