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[kath-ahr] /ˈkæθ ɑr/
noun, plural Cathari
[kath-uh-rahy] /ˈkæθ əˌraɪ/ (Show IPA),
(in medieval Europe) a member of any of several rigorously ascetic Christian sects maintaining a dualistic theology.
Also called Catharist
[kath-er-ist] /ˈkæθ ər ɪst/ (Show IPA)
1630-40; < Late Latin Catharī (plural) < Late Greek hoi Katharoí Novatians, literally, the pure; applied in ML to various sects
Related forms
Catharism, noun
Catharistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for catharism


noun (pl) -ars, -ari (-ərɪ), -arists
a member of a Christian sect in Provence in the 12th and 13th centuries who believed the material world was evil and only the spiritual was good
Derived Forms
Catharism, noun
Word Origin
from Medieval Latin Cathari, from Greek katharoi the pure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for catharism
1574 (implied in Catharism), from M.L. Cathari "the Pure," name taken by Novatians and other Christian sects, from N.T. Gk. katharezein "to make clean," from Gk. katheros "pure."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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