or·​gy | \ ˈȯr-jē How to pronounce orgy (audio) \
plural orgies

Definition of orgy

1 : secret ceremonial rites held in honor of an ancient Greek or Roman deity and usually characterized by ecstatic singing and dancing Roman orgies in honor of Bacchus
2a : drunken revelry
b : a sexual encounter involving many people also : an excessive sexual indulgence (see indulgence sense 1a)
3 : excessive indulgence (see indulgence sense 1a) in something especially to satisfy an inordinate appetite or craving an orgy of destruction a national orgy of thrill seeking and risk taking— K. T. Greenfeld

Keep scrolling for more

Unsexy Orgies

Orgy is a word which for many immediately conjures salacious imagery and blushed cheeks. However, both the oldest and the most recently-adopted senses of this word contain meanings which may not be at all sexual in nature. The word first came into English in the middle of the 16th century in reference to secret ceremonial rites, particularly those of the Romans and ancient Greeks, which involved singing and dancing. The licentious meaning was not added until the beginning of the 18th century. And the most recent senses (“a riotous display” and “a manifestation of extreme indulgence”), which may describe such things as an assembly of garish colors or a spectacle of destruction, appear to date from the late 19th century.

Examples of orgy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The place has been aflame for the past week in an orgy of rioting. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The Chauvin Trial and the Chelsea Handler Standard of Justice," 19 Apr. 2021 Beginning in the 1990s, Democrats and Republicans showered benefits on the financial sector, paving the way for an orgy of subprime lending and financial engineering that inflated housing prices to dizzying heights. Washington Post, "We know about Amazon’s sins. Do we care?," 19 Mar. 2021 If bitcoin has entered a bear—and that is still to be confirmed—money is going to go into other hedges and my feeling is that gold is an obvious first stop on the road to hedging against the never-ending orgy of stimulus coming from all corners. Clem Chambers, Forbes, "What’s Next For Gold?," 12 Mar. 2021 During a stop in Chicago, the band members stayed at Hugh Hefner’s Chicago Playboy Mansion, a stint some journalists would refer to as a five-day orgy. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "From Akron to NYC: Rolling Stones brought bedlam and brilliance to America in 1972," 21 Feb. 2021 Unfortunately for anyone who wanted to watch Naomi Watts narrate a penguin orgy, this film is the latter. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, "Naomi Watts Movie Penguin Bloom Isn’t Even About Penguins," 9 Jan. 2021 What might the ultraconservative Mr. and Mrs. Pence have to say about that orgy? New York Times, "Louise Linton Has Made a Movie," 9 Jan. 2021 The orgy of progressive peacocking sweeping the financial-services and payments industries is emblematic, and particularly troubling because these industries form the backbone of the economy. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of December 7," 12 Dec. 2020 The organizer of a 25-man orgy in Brussels, busted last week for breaching coronavirus lockdown rules, said male leaders from nine countries were guests at his parties. Fox News, "COVID-19 orgy host: Lawmakers from 9 countries came to my sex parties," 4 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orgy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of orgy

circa 1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for orgy

Middle French orgie, from Latin orgia, plural, from Greek; akin to Greek ergon work — more at work

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about orgy

Statistics for orgy

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Orgy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for orgy



English Language Learners Definition of orgy

: a wild party and especially one in which many people have sex together
: something that is done too much and in a wild way

More from Merriam-Webster on orgy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for orgy

Nglish: Translation of orgy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on orgy

What made you want to look up orgy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!