- Date: circa 1561
- 1 : secret ceremonial rites held in honor of an ancient Greek or Roman deity and usually characterized by ecstatic singing and dancing
- 2 a : drunken revelry
- b : a sexual encounter involving many people; also : an excessive sexual indulgence
- 3 : excessive indulgence in something especially to satisfy an inordinate appetite or craving <an orgy of destruction>
In modern usage, an orgy is a sex party where guests engage in promiscuous and excessive sexual activity or group sex. An orgy differs from a swinging party by the fact that couples at the swingers party engage in twosome and otherwise conventional sexual activities, though not with their permanent sexual partner.
In ancient Greek religion, an orgy (όργιον) was a secret nighttime cultic congregation overseen by an orgiophant (a teacher or revealer of secret rites popularly thought to involve sex), celebrated with dancing, drunkenness, singing, etc. (See Bacchanalia and Saturnalia.)
An orgion was a secret rite of the Greek mystery religions, practiced in the worship of Demeter at Eleusis (mentioned in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter) or in worship of Dionysus (Herodotus 2.81), the Cabeiri, Demeter Achaia (Herodotus 2.51, 5.61), Orpheus, Eumolpus, or Cybele.