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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Ablution \Ab*lu`tion\, n. [L. ablutio, fr. abluere: cf. F. ablution. See Abluent.]

  1. The act of washing or cleansing; specifically, the washing of the body, or some part of it, as a religious rite.

  2. The water used in cleansing. ``Cast the ablutions in the main.''

  3. (R. C. Ch.) A small quantity of wine and water, which is used to wash the priest's thumb and index finger after the communion, and which then, as perhaps containing portions of the consecrated elements, is drunk by the priest.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"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).


n. 1 The act of washing something. 2 # (context chemistry English) Originally, the purifying of oils and other substances by emulsification with hot water; now more generally, a thorough cleansing of a precipitate or other non-dissolved substance. (First attested from around 1350 to 1470.) 3 # The act of washing or cleansing the body, or some part of it, as a religious rite. (From mid 16th century.)(R:SOED5: page=5-6) 4 # (context literary or humorous usually in the plural English) washing oneself; bathing, cleaning oneself up. (From mid 18th century.) 5 # (context Western Christianity English) The rinse of the priest's hand and the sacred vessel following the Communion with, depending on rite, water or a mix of it and wine, which may then be drunk by the priest. (from 17th c.) 6 The liquid used in the cleansing or ablution. (From early 18th century.) 7 (context Orthodox Christianity English) The ritual consumption by the deacon or priest of leftover sacred wine of host after the Communion. 8 (context pluralonly UK military English) The location or building where the showers and sinks are located. (From mid 20th century.)


n. the ritual washing of a priest's hands or of sacred vessels


Ablution is the act of washing oneself. It may refer to:

  • Ablution as hygiene
  • Ablution as ritual purification:
    • Ablution in Islam: Wudu, Ghusl, and Tayammum
    • Ablution in Christianity
    • Ablution in Judaism
    • Ablution in Shinto
  • Ablution, a certain form of absolution

Usage examples of "ablution".

With a hasty glance toward the ablution facility, Abe raced after the others, to find them by the locked door.

At Bayazid, I performed my ablution in the courtyard, entered the mosque and prayed.

The skin of this young creature, from continual ablutions and the use of mollifying ointments, was inconceivably smooth and soft.

This was nothing unusual, however, so Mary simply broke through the ice and began her morning ablutions, gratefully noticing that gentle movement reduced the soreness in her wrists.

She hurried through her ablutions and ordered a sustabar for breakfast.

Channa, the ablutions system was not completely set up and the perfume mixer not installed.

She went into the ablutions area and took a shower, trying to ignore the thing, which continued to watch her, or she presumed it was watching her, through its unblinking golden eye-slit.

She got out of bed, studiously ignoring the robot, and went into the ablutions unit.

Just imagine wasting all this space on an ablutions unit for one person.

One wall of the ablutions area changed miraculously into a mirror and she saw them both reflected in it.

There were several women delegates and Ken made the most of their ablutions until he was distracted by the appearance of Karanja in a neat grey suit, an ingratiating grin on his face and his big ears standing out like sails.

In the cold stream Deacon Rose bathed and performed his ablutions and meditations, while a much subdued Pryor saw to the horses.

Once inside the ablutions one of the interrogators pulled his underpants down around his ankles and ordered him to step out of them and bend over.

There were no accusations, no questions, instead they simply walked out of the ablutions and left him hanging there.

Church of England or of Rome as the medium of those superior ablutions described above, only that I think the Unitarian Church, like the Lyceum, as yet an open and uncommitted organ, free to admit the ministrations of any inspired man that shall pass by: whilst the other churches are committed and will exclude him.