AskDefine | Define orgy

Dictionary Definition

orgy

Noun

1 any act of immoderate indulgence; "an orgy of shopping"; "an emotional binge"; "a splurge of spending" [syn: binge, splurge]
2 secret rite in the cults of ancient Greek or Roman deities involving singing and dancing and drinking and sexual activity
3 a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity [syn: debauch, debauchery, saturnalia, riot, bacchanal, bacchanalia, drunken revelry]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

Originally in plural from French orgies, from Latin orgia (neuter plural) cognate with Greek ὄργια, both meaning ‘secret rites, revels’.

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A revel involving indiscriminate group sexual activity.
  2. Excessive indulgence in a specified activity.

Derived terms

Translations

group activity
  • Czech: orgie
  • German: Orgie
  • Greek: όργιο, παρτούζα
  • Polish: orgia
excessive activity
  • German: Orgie
  • Polish: orgia

Extensive Definition

An orgy (όργιον) was a secret cultic congregation at nighttime in Ancient Greek religion, overseen by an orgiophant (a teacher or revealer of secret rites). In modern parlance an orgy may refer to an event involving group sex.

Etymology

Greek όργιον is cognate with έργον "work, effect, [religious] service" (ultimately cognate to English work itself). The term was lent into English in the 16th century, via the Latinized orgia.
Since the 17th century, due to its connection with Dionysus and the Bacchanalia, the English term orgy could refer to "any licentious revelry", in particular group sex or promiscuity, but the term can also denote other acts which may not include sex. For example an "alcoholic orgy" is an event where people show no restraint in alcohol consumption. This is better known as binge drinking.

The Greek orgia

An orgion was a secret rite of the Greek Mystery religions, practiced in the worship of Demeter at Eleusis (mentioned in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter) or in worship of Dionysus (Herodotus 2.81), the Cabeiri, Demeter Achaia (Herodotus 2.51, 5.61), Orpheus, Eumolpus, or Cybele.
The term could also refer to rites or sacrifices in general, the verb ὀργιάζω denoting ritual celebration.

Notes

References

  • Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece by Lesley Adkins, Roy A. Adkins ISBN 019512491X (1998)
  • Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece by Nigel Guy Wilson ISBN 0415973341 (2005)
  • Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet ISBN 402197535 (2005)
  • Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion by Matthew Dillon ISBN 0415202728 (2002)
  • The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and Its Survival in Greek Religion by Martin Persson ISBN 0819602736 (1970)
  • Hellenismos Today by Timothy Jay Alexander ISBN 978-1-4303-1427-1 (2007)
  • A Beginner's Guide to Hellenismos by Timothy Jay Alexander ISBN 978-1-4303-2456-0 (2007)

External links and further reading

orgy in Danish: Orgie
orgy in German: Orgie
orgy in Spanish: Orgía
orgy in French: Orgie
orgy in Italian: Orgia
orgy in Lithuanian: Orgija
orgy in Dutch: Orgie (seksualiteit)
orgy in Norwegian: Orgie
orgy in Portuguese: Orgia
orgy in Russian: Оргия
orgy in Simple English: Orgy
orgy in Slovenian: Orgija
orgy in Serbian: Оргија
orgy in Finnish: Orgiat
orgy in Swedish: Orgie

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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