Etymology
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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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Definitions of cathartic
1
cathartic (adj.)
emotionally purging;
Synonyms: psychotherapeutic
cathartic (adj.)
emotionally purging (of e.g. art);
Synonyms: releasing
cathartic (adj.)
strongly laxative;
Synonyms: evacuant / purgative
2
cathartic (n.)
a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels;
Synonyms: purgative / physic / aperient
From wordnet.princeton.edu