ecstasy

Definitions

General English

Medical

  • noun feeling of extreme happiness
  • noun a powerful stimulant and hallucinatory illegal drug

Slang

  • noun the drug MDMA (3,4 methylene dioxy methamphetamine). A preparation which was synthesised and patented in 1914 and rediscovered for recreational use in 1975 in the USA. The drug, related to speed, remained a minority taste until the early 1980s; it was used by Californian therapists among others and was legal until 1985. It is also known as E, Epsom salts, X and adam.
  • symbolE
  • acronymMDA
  • symbolX

Origin & History of “ecstasy”

Etymologically, someone who is ecstatic is out of his or her mind. The word comes, via Old French extasie and late Latin extasis, from Greek ékstasis, a derivative of the verb existánai ‘displace, drive out of one’s mind’. this was a compound formed from the prefix ek- ‘out’ and histánai ‘place’ (a distant relative of English stand). The underlying notion of being ‘beside oneself, in the grip of extreme passion’ survives in modern English in relation to mystic experiences or trances, and also, albeit archaically, in such phrases as ‘an ecstasy of rage’, and the specific sense ‘delight’ developed only comparatively recently, apparently in the 17th century.
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