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ecstasy

[ek-stuh-see] /ˈɛk stə si/
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
1350-1400; Middle English extasie < Middle French < Medieval Latin extasis < Greek ékstasis displacement, trance, equivalent to ek- ec- + stásis stasis
Synonyms
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for ecstasies
  • Under their direction nuns kept diaries of ecstasies and prayer, or sometimes painted their visions directly onto canvas.
  • In prayer he was often favoured with ecstasies and raptures.
  • His ecstasies in prayer were frequent, and sometimes of long continuance.
British Dictionary definitions for ecstasies

ecstasy

/ˈɛkstəsɪ/
noun (pl) -sies
1.
(often pl) 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
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ecstasies

ecstasy

n.

late 14c., "in a frenzy or stupor, fearful, excited," from Old French estaise "ecstasy, rapture," from Late Latin extasis, from Greek ekstasis "entrancement, astonishment; any displacement," in New Testament "a trance," from existanai "displace, put out of place," also "drive out of one's mind" (existanai phrenon), from ek "out" (see ex-) + histanai "to place, cause to stand," from PIE root *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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ecstasies in Medicine

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 definitions & phrases for ecstasies

ecstasy

noun

A variety of amphetamine narcotic: Ecstasy, by emergency order of the Drug Enforcement Administration, illegal (1980s+ Narcotics)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for ecstasies

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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