Word Origin & History
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
). 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.