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ablution

[uh-bloo-shuh n] /əˈblu ʃən/
noun
1.
a cleansing with water or other liquid, especially as a religious ritual.
2.
the liquid thus used.
3.
Usually, ablutions. a washing of the hands, body, etc.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin ablūtiōn- (stem of ablūtiō), equivalent to ablūt(us), past participle of abluere (see abluent) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
ablutionary, adjective
Can be confused
ablation, ablution.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for ablution
  • If the water does not flow on the skin, there is no ablution and so no baptism.
  • It is suggested based on this translation that performing ablution is not required.
British Dictionary definitions for ablution

ablution

/əˈbluːʃən/
noun
1.
the ritual washing of a priest's hands or of sacred vessels
2.
(often pl) the act of washing (esp in the phrase perform one's ablutions)
3.
(pl) (military, informal) a washing place
Derived Forms
ablutionary, adjective
Word Origin
C14: ultimately from Latin ablūere to wash away
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ablution
n.

"ritual washing," late 14c., from Latin ablutionem (nominative ablutio), noun of action from past participle stem of abluere "to wash off," from ab- "off" (see ab-) + luere "wash," related to lavere (see lave).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ablution in the Bible

or washing, was practised, (1.) When a person was initiated into a higher state: e.g., when Aaron and his sons were set apart to the priest's office, they were washed with water previous to their investiture with the priestly robes (Lev. 8:6). (2.) Before the priests approached the altar of God, they were required, on pain of death, to wash their hands and their feet to cleanse them from the soil of common life (Ex. 30:17-21). To this practice the Psalmist alludes, Ps. 26:6. (3.) There were washings prescribed for the purpose of cleansing from positive defilement contracted by particular acts. Of such washings eleven different species are prescribed in the Levitical law (Lev. 12-15). (4.) A fourth class of ablutions is mentioned, by which a person purified or absolved himself from the guilt of some particular act. For example, the elders of the nearest village where some murder was committed were required, when the murderer was unknown, to wash their hands over the expiatory heifer which was beheaded, and in doing so to say, "Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it" (Deut. 21:1-9). So also Pilate declared himself innocent of the blood of Jesus by washing his hands (Matt. 27:24). This act of Pilate may not, however, have been borrowed from the custom of the Jews. The same practice was common among the Greeks and Romans. The Pharisees carried the practice of ablution to great excess, thereby claiming extraordinary purity (Matt. 23:25). Mark (7:1-5) refers to the ceremonial ablutions. The Pharisees washed their hands "oft," more correctly, "with the fist" (R.V., "diligently"), or as an old father, Theophylact, explains it, "up to the elbow." (Compare also Mark 7:4; Lev. 6:28; 11: 32-36; 15:22) (See WASHING.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for ablution

in religion, a prescribed washing of part or all of the body or of possessions, such as clothing or ceremonial objects, with the intent of purification or dedication. Water, or water with salt or some other traditional ingredient, is most commonly used, but washing with blood is not uncommon in the history of religions, and urine of the sacred cow has been used in India.

Learn more about ablution with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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