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 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

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 Clapping as ideology, tier upon tier of it, an orgy of herd affirmation. James Parker, The Atlantic, 5 May 2022 Washington is meanwhile still reverberating with a bizarre episode triggered by Republican North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn's claim he was invited to an orgy and saw leaders in the nation's anti-drug fight snorting cocaine. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 6 Apr. 2022 Sometimes as many as 10 underage girls would participate in a single orgy with them. al, 20 Feb. 2022 His steamy plot revolves around an orgy on a Greek isle with a dying woman and a pair of honeymooning Americans. Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2022 But the first season saw Benedict going to an orgy and also hooking up with the modiste…neither of which happen in the books. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 25 Mar. 2022 Rather than becoming some kind of perpetual, quasi-religious orgy, the Oneida Community was highly controlled. Stewart Davenport, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Feb. 2022 After a pandemic hiatus in 2020, the orgy of opulence known as Art Basel Miami Beach returned to the loving arms of South Florida this week, luring high-net-worth individuals from their coronavirus bunkers to duel for Warhols and Basquiats. Washington Post, 3 Dec. 2021 That night, a white mob of more than 1,000 — including police officers — descended on Greenwood for a 13-hour orgy of violence. The Week Staff, The Week, 13 June 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near orgy

orgulous

orgy

orhamwood

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Statistics for orgy

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Orgy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orgy. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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