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 4a)
3 : excessive indulgence (see indulgence sense 4a) 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

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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

But, also, the feeling of total debauchery is still there with stuff like superhuman orgies and dolphin erotica. Nick Romano,, "Amazon's The Boys season 2 gets the official blood-stained thumbs-up," 19 July 2019 In a civil suit filed against Maxwell in 2015 (which later settled), Roberts Giuffre claims she was forced to participate in orgies there. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "Everything We Know About Jeffrey Epstein's Vast Real Estate Portfolio," 18 July 2019 Courtesy of Amazon Prime Day, Amazon’s orgy of discount consumption, will flood the internet with more than a million deals starting July 15 at 12am US Pacific time (3am US Eastern time). Nicolas Rivero, Quartz, "The best Amazon Prime Day deals announced so far," 13 July 2019 However, there are a few orgies scenes that may titillate you more than any icy showdown between Elizabeth (Claire Foy) and Philip (Matt Smith). Ariana Romero,, "These Are The New Netflix Treats For July 4th Weekend —Besides Stranger Things," 2 July 2019 Well this Omnibus orgy of spending dedicates a puny $641 million to something called border reinforcements. Fox News, "Rep. Sean Duffy on McCabe's firing: Swamp is being drained," 23 Mar. 2018 For all the time the story spends in the human city of Zion, the dance-orgy and character-drama segments don’t say much about how this future functions, or add dimension to the man vs. machine conflict. Liz Shannon Miller, The Verge, "Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale is a model of longform worldbuilding," 15 July 2019 There was a documented rape King might have witnessed ... Mistresses, prostitutes, orgies and a love child were referenced., "Newly released FBI report that claims Martin Luther King Jr. witnessed, ‘laughed’ at a rape leaves historians in quandary," 5 June 2019 The country once defined by its stiff upper lip has been indulging in a kind of orgy of public histrionics more commonly associated with Latin American telenovelas. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The Great Brexit Breakdown," 7 Dec. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for orgy

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for orgy

The first known use of orgy was circa 1561

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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

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Spanish Central: Translation of 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).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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