SKIP TO CONTENT

cathartic

A movie, play, or song that makes you cry is called cathartic. Most good writers try to create work that causes you to experience a strong rush of emotion.

If you've been feeling like you need a good cry, you should watch a cathartic movie like Bambi — or any film that's sure to make you weep. Things that are cathartic don't always call up tears. Things that make you scream, like a roller-coaster ride or a boxing match, are also cathartic. Whatever causes you to release a sudden flood of feelings is cathartic. Some therapies ask you to hit a pillow or break dishes, because those can be cathartic activities.

Definitions of cathartic
  1. adjective
    emotionally purging
    synonyms: psychotherapeutic
    healthful
    conducive to good health of body or mind
  2. adjective
    emotionally purging (of e.g. art)
    synonyms: releasing
    emotional
    of more than usual emotion
  3. adjective
    strongly laxative
    synonyms: evacuant, purgative
    laxative
    stimulating evacuation of feces
  4. noun
    a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels
    synonyms: aperient, physic, purgative
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 7 types...
    hide 7 types...
    aloes, bitter aloes
    a purgative made from the leaves of aloe
    castor oil
    a purgative extracted from the seed of the castor-oil plant; used in paint and varnish as well as medically
    Epsom salts
    (used with a singular noun) hydrated magnesium sulfate used as a laxative
    laxative
    a mild cathartic
    milk of magnesia
    purgative consisting of a milky white liquid suspension of magnesium hydroxide; used as a laxative and (in smaller doses) as an antacid
    Rochelle powder, Seidlitz powder, Seidlitz powders
    an effervescing salt containing sodium bicarbonate and Rochelle salt and tartaric acid; used as a cathartic
    phenolphthalein
    a laxative used in many preparations under various trade names; also used as an acid-base indicator in titrations involving weak acids and strong bases because it is brilliant red at high alkalinity and colorless below pH 8
    type of:
    medicament, medication, medicinal drug, medicine
    (medicine) something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week