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[kom-per-gey-shuh n] /ˌkɒm pərˈgeɪ ʃən/
an early common-law method of trial in which the defendant is acquitted on the sworn endorsement of a specified number of friends or neighbors.
1650-60; < Medieval Latin compurgātiōn- (stem of compurgātiō), equivalent to com- com- + purgāt(us) (past participle of purgāre to purge) + -iōn- -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for compurgation
  • compurgation, also called wager of law, is a defense used primarily in medieval law.
British Dictionary definitions for compurgation


(law) (formerly) a method of trial whereby a defendant might be acquitted if a sufficient number of persons swore to his innocence
Derived Forms
compurgator, noun
compurgatory, compurgatorial, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin compurgātiō, from Latin compurgāre to purify entirely, from com- (intensive) + purgāre to purge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for compurgation

in early English law, method of settling issues of fact by appeal to a type of character witness. Compurgation was practiced until the 16th century in criminal matters and into the 19th century in civil matters

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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