orgy

noun

or·​gy ˈȯr-jē How to pronounce orgy (audio)
plural orgies
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
2
a
: 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

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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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The movie is full of juicy cameos — fun celebrities played, in certain cases by fun actors — and this terrific scene is a veritable orgy of them. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 9 Sep. 2022 More than 8,000 people joined a chat on the Telegram messaging service after a tweeted joke that in case of a nuclear strike, survivors should go to Kyiv's Schekavytsia Hill for an orgy. Adam Schreck, BostonGlobe.com, 4 Nov. 2022 The orgy stirs her passions and Daemon begins to seduce her publicly — then literally leaves her there with her pants down. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2022 The orgy of spending by Ms. Warren and her colleagues pumped up consumer demand while supply chains were stressed. WSJ, 28 July 2022 Cawthorn drew attention earlier this year for claiming his colleagues invited him to an orgy, sparking criticism from some GOP colleagues. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 24 May 2022 Nasty language, an Eyes Wide Shut orgy, blood fountains of gore. Darren Franich, EW.com, 11 Aug. 2022 That’s because the show’s two big full-ensemble routines are a war and an orgy. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 14 July 2022 Zeus, whom Crowe plays with the energy of a particularly horny Greek diner owner, is the most extreme example of indifference, presiding over a meeting of deities with an agenda that mostly focuses on who’s coming to the next orgy. David Sims, The Atlantic, 5 July 2022 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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

circa 1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of orgy was circa 1561

Dictionary Entries Near orgy

Cite this Entry

“Orgy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orgy. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

orgy

noun

or·​gy ˈȯr-jē How to pronounce orgy (audio)
plural orgies
1
: secret ceremonies in honor of an ancient Greek or Roman god usually celebrated by wild singing and dancing
2
: something (as a party) that resembles an orgy in lack of control

More from Merriam-Webster on orgy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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