ecstasy

[ek-stuh-see]
noun, plural ecstasies.
1.
rapturous delight.
2.
an overpowering emotion or exaltation; a state of sudden, intense feeling.
3.
the frenzy of poetic inspiration.
4.
mental transport or rapture from the contemplation of divine things.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English extasie < Middle French < Medieval Latin extasis < Greek ékstasis displacement, trance, equivalent to ek- ec- + stásis stasis


2. delight, bliss, elation. Ecstasy, rapture, transport, exaltation share a sense of being taken or moved out of one's self or one's normal state, and entering a state of intensified or heightened feeling. Ecstasy suggests an intensification of emotion so powerful as to produce a trancelike dissociation from all but the single overpowering feeling: an ecstasy of rage, grief, love. Rapture shares the power of ecstasy but most often refers to an elevated sensation of bliss or delight, either carnal or spiritual: the rapture of first love. Transport somewhat less extreme than either ecstasy or rapture implies a strength of feeling that results in expression of some kind: They jumped up and down in a transport of delight. Exaltation refers to a heady sense of personal well-being so powerful that one is lifted above normal emotional levels and above normal people: wild exaltation at having finally broken the record.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
ecstasy (ˈɛkstəsɪ)
 
n , pl -sies
1.  (often plural) a state of exalted delight, joy, etc; rapture
2.  intense emotion of any kind: an ecstasy of rage
3.  psychol overpowering emotion characterized by loss of self-control and sometimes a temporary loss of consciousness: often associated with orgasm, religious mysticism, and the use of certain drugs
4.  archaic a state of prophetic inspiration, esp of poetic rapture
5.  slang 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine; MDMA: a powerful drug that acts as a stimulant and can produce hallucinations
 
[C14: from Old French extasie, via Medieval Latin from Greek ekstasis displacement, trance, from existanai to displace, from ex- out + histanai to cause to stand]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ecstasy
late 14c., "in a frenzy or stupor, fearful, excited," from O.Fr. extasie, from L.L. extasis, from Gk. ekstasis "trance, distraction," from existanai "displace," also "drive out of one's mind" (existanai phrenon), from ek "out" + histanai "to place, cause to stand," from PIE base *sta- "to stand" (see
stet). Used by 17c. mystical writers for "a state of rapture that stupefied the body while the soul contemplated divine things," which probably helped the meaning shift to "exalted state of good feeling" (1610s). Slang use for the drug 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine dates from 1985.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ecstasy ec·sta·sy (ěk'stə-sē)
n.
MDMA.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang Dictionary

Ecstasy definition

[ˈɛkstəsi]
  1. n.
    a hallucinogen similar to LSD. (Drugs.) : Chemicals with names like “Ecstasy” are being put on the streets every day.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

ecstasy

in mysticism, the experience of an inner vision of God or of one's relation to or union with the divine. Various methods have been used to achieve ecstasy, which is a primary goal in most forms of religious mysticism. The most typical consists of four stages: (1) purgation (of bodily desire); (2) purification (of the will); (3) illumination (of the mind); and (4) unification (of one's being or will with the divine). Other methods are: dancing (as used by the Mawlawiyah, or whirling dervishes, a Muslim Sufi sect); the use of sedatives and stimulants (as utilized in some Hellenistic mystery religions); and the use of certain drugs, such as peyote, mescaline, hashish, LSD, and similar products (in certain Islamic sects and modern experimental religious groups). Most mystics, both in the East and in the West, frown on the use of drugs because no permanent change in the personality (in the mystical sense) has been known to occur.

Learn more about ecstasy with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
There's none of the euphoria produced by cocaine or the bliss from ecstasy.
As a teenager, he goes hunting purely for the ecstasy of the kill.
The publisher of a study claims there's a link between ecstasy use and
  Parkinson's disease.
Charlotte hops around the living room in apparent ecstasy.
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