Word of the Day Archive
Monday June 3, 2002
ablution \uh-BLOO-shun\ , noun:
1. The act of washing or cleansing; specifically, the washing of the body, or some part of it (as in a religious rite).
2. The water used in cleansing.
Worshipers, who have performed their ablutions in the basement before entering the prayer hall, individually prepare themselves for participation in the communal worship.
-- Jane I. Smith, Islam in America
There is . . . a large fountain in the center, beneath an opening in the roof through which the sun streams down to meet the rising water, so that ablutions required of worshipers before they pray can be performed inside the building.
-- Mary Lee Settle, "A Sacred Spa Where Sultans Led an Empire", New York Times, July 8, 1990
He went straight to the loo to begin his usual ablutions, soaping his cheeks and neck.
-- Brooks Hansen, Perlman's Ordeal
In fact, writing -- more exactly, composing in your head -- formal poetry may be recommended in solitary confinement as a kind of therapy, alongside pushups and cold ablutions.
-- Joseph Brodsky, "The Writer in Prison", New York Times, October 13, 1996
Ablution comes from Latin ablutio, from abluere, "to wash, to remove by washing, to wash away," from ab-, "away from" + luere, "to wash."