|law (formerly) a method of trial whereby a defendant might be acquitted if a sufficient number of persons swore to his innocence|
|[C17: from Medieval Latin compurgātiō, from Latin compurgāre to purify entirely, from com- (intensive) + purgāre to |
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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