orgy

noun
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 Standing in front of his minions, Jordan channels his defiance into a scream of pride, one that rallies his troops around him in an orgy of self-delusion. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The 10 Best Movie Scenes of the 2010s," 31 Dec. 2019 And there’s Chloe, a city of strangers where orgies occur without a word being exchanged. Steven Litt, cleveland, "MOCA Cleveland’s ‘Invisible Cities’ exhibit highlights powerful art of Chinese ‘trickster mixer-upper’ Liu Wei," 6 Oct. 2019 This sparked an orgy of communal riots and terrorist attacks across India, leaving hundreds dead, over the next many months. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A timeline of a land dispute that has ripped India’s heart apart over seven decades," 9 Nov. 2019 Their mission leads to the typically disturbing hijinks: an orgy with heroin addicts, a pair of renters who grill cheese on the radiators, and a bizarre effort to break up a couple mourning the loss of their son. Travis M. Andrews, Houston Chronicle, "‘Sunny in Philadelphia’ survives #cancelculture to last 14 seasons," 27 Sep. 2019 Their mission leads to the typically disturbing hijinks: an orgy with heroin addicts, a pair of renters who grill cheese on the radiators, and a bizarre effort to break up a couple mourning the loss of their son. Travis M. Andrews, chicagotribune.com, "In its record 14 seasons, ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ has dodged cancel culture, controversy — and Emmys," 27 Sep. 2019 More likely, the orgy of contracts that a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project would kick off will offer a potent temptation for the sort of public corruption that Timor-Leste has so far mostly been spared. Washington Post, "This Tiny Nation Should Beware China’s Belt and Road," 20 Sep. 2019 As evidenced by the food at San Francisco’s Slavic restaurants like Red Tavern and Cinderella Bakery, Georgian cuisine is an orgy of color and texture by comparison. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "The Bay Area’s first Georgian restaurant shines with cheese pulls and chokhas," 15 Aug. 2019 In an act of love, defiance, and desperation, the Losers Club have an orgy in a sewer. Joelle Monique, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'It: Chapter Two' Leaves Richie Tozier Behind," 7 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for orgy

Time Traveler

The first known use of orgy was circa 1561

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Statistics for orgy

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Orgy.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orgy. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for orgy

orgy

noun
How to pronounce orgy (audio)

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

Spanish Central: Translation of orgy

Nglish: Translation of orgy for Spanish Speakers

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