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illustration Ablution



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, early 16th century


The act of washing oneself (often used for humorously formal effect).


A ceremonial act of washing parts of the body or sacred containers.

Examples of Ablution in a sentence

"She prepared the altar with the necessary pitcher of water and perfumes for the ablution."

"Every morning she read the paper over a cup of tea, then completed the ablution of the kitchen and herself."

About Ablution

"Ablution" comes from the Latin verb "abluere," meaning "to wash away." The religious ritual context was added in 1533 in a writing by Thomas More. Since then, "ablution" has been used to describe any sort of washing in a formal sense, but particularly as a religious or ritual act.

Did you Know?

Ablution is a fancy word for washing, but it has a few particular meanings. It can be used to describe the ritual hand-washing that occurs as part of a Communion ceremony, and in Eastern Orthodoxy, ablution is the consumption of the leftover Communion wine. Then the British military decided to use the word in plural (ablutions) to describe a shower building. It's most often used now as a humorously formal way of describing one's morning getting-ready rituals.

illustration Ablution

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