Etymology
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cleansing (n.)

late Old English clænsunge "a cleansing, a purifying, castigation; chastity, purity," verbal noun from the root of cleanse. As a present-participle adjective, attested from c. 1300.

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cleanse (v.)

Old English clænsian "to make clean; purge, purify, chasten; justify," from West Germanic *klainson, from *klainoz (see clean (adj.)). Despite its modern spelling (16c.), it retains its Middle English pronunciation. Related: Cleansed; cleansing.

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cathartic (adj.)

1610s, of medicines, "purgative, purifying," from Latin catharticus, from Greek kathartikos "fit for cleansing, purgative," from katharsis "purging, cleansing" (see catharsis). General sense is from 1670s. Related: Cathartical.

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detergent (n.)

"detergent substance," 1670s, from detergent (adj.). Originally a medical term; application to "chemical cleansing product" is by 1932.

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purgation (n.)

late 14c., purgacioun, "purification from sin," also "discharge of waste; evacuation of evil humors by bloodletting, etc.," from Old French purgacion "a cleansing," medical or spiritual (12c., Modern French purgation) and directly from Latin purgationem (nominative purgatio) "a cleansing, purging," figuratively "an apology, justification," noun of action from past-participle stem of purgare "to cleanse, purify" (see purge (v.)).

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Clydesdale 

"breed of heavy draught horses," 1786, so called because they were bred in the valley of the Clyde in Scotland. The river name is perhaps literally "cleansing," from a Celtic root akin to Latin cloaca (see cloaca).

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detergent (adj.)

"cleansing, purging," 1610s, from Latin detergentem (nominative detergens), present participle of detergere "to wipe away, cleanse," from de "off, away" (see de-) + tergere "to rub, polish, wipe," which is of uncertain origin. Originally a medical term.

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lavation (n.)

"act of washing, a cleansing," 1620s, from Latin lavationem (nominative lavatio) "a bathing, bath, bathing apparatus," noun of action from past-participle stem of lavare "to wash" (from PIE root *leue- "to wash"). Related: Lavations.

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ablution (n.)
Origin and meaning of ablution

"ritual washing," late 14c., from Latin ablutionem (nominative ablutio) "a washing, cleansing," noun of action from past-participle stem of abluere "to wash off, wash away, cleanse by washing," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + luere "to wash" (from PIE root *leue- "to wash").

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fumigate (v.)

1520s, "scent with perfumes," back-formation from fumigation. The older verb was simply fume (c. 1400). Meaning "apply smoke or fumes to," especially for cleansing purposes, is from 1781. Related: Fumigated; fumigating; fumigatory.

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