Definition of purgatory noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈpɜːɡətri//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpɜːrɡətɔːri//
    jump to other results
  1. 1 (also Purgatory) (in Roman Catholic teaching) a place or state in which the souls of dead people suffer for the bad things they did when they were living, so that they can become pure enough to go to heaven
  2. 2(informal, humorous) any place or state of suffering synonym hell Getting up at four o'clock every morning is sheer purgatory.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: from Anglo-Norman French purgatorie or medieval Latin purgatorium, neuter (used as a noun) of late Latin purgatorius ‘purifying’, from the verb purgare ‘purify’, from purus ‘pure’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: purgatory