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Orgy ( ancient Greek ὄργια orgia ) originally referred to the secret rites in the cult of Dionysus , later generally secret rites of an ancient mystery cult . In modern times it is used as a term for collective acts with which one deliberately violates morals, especially sexual mores. Recently, often for everything that exceeds the usual level ("feeding orgy", "orgy of violence", "orgy of colors").

The loan word can be found in the German-speaking area for the first time in the 17th century and is borrowed from the Greek ὄργια órgia (neuter plural of ὄργιον orgion ) via the Latin neuter orgia (originally in the sense of a cultic secret meeting at night ) . The latter is derived from the Greek ἔργον érgon , generally “the work”, “the work”, “work” (compare energy ), more specifically “the service” for a deity.

According to current knowledge, the word appeared in English for the first time in 1589 in relation to the secret rites of the Greeks and Romans, but only in the 18th century in today's modern sense (not certain in the 17th century for French). In any case, since that time the original, religious component of meaning has taken a back seat.


  • Hans J. Döpp: Orgies. Ecstatic festivals in art. Palast, Erftstadt 2010, ISBN 978-3-939527-82-4 .
  • Susanna Foral-Krischke: The orgy. From ancient cult to present day group sex. Heyne-TB 7160, Munich 1981, ISBN 3-453-01349-2 .
  • Susanna Foral-Krischke: Venus cult. A cultural history of the orgy . Cormoran, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-517-09019-0 .
  • Cornelius Hartz : Orgies, we want orgies! This is how the ancient Romans celebrated . Theiss, Darmstadt 2015, ISBN 978-3-8062-3108-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Kluge Etymological Dictionary of the German Language, 24th edition
  2. "orgy" on, under Word History (English)

Web links

Wiktionary: Orgy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations