• ecstasy •
Pronunciation: ek-stê-see • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. The state of being carried away beyond self-control by high emotion; a state of unmanageable bliss or euphoria. 2. A trance-like state or frenzy of religious passion. 3. [Slang] An illegal amphetamine.
Notes: Today's word is one of those Greek borrowings ending on an S or soft C that becomes a T in words derived from it: the adjective for ectasy is ecstatic [ek-stæ-dik], just as the adjective for stasis is static and that for democracy is democratic. The adverb, therefore, is ecstatically. If you must 'verb' this word, ecstacize is the way to do it: "Gilda Lilly simply ecstacized over her new Armani evening dress."
In Play: Ecstasy is usually associated with the heights of euphoria: "The very thought of chocolate truffles transports Kaye Largo to a state of ecstasy." Today's Good Word can also refer to a religious or almost religious trance: "The sight of Barbie Dahl raised Jason Rainboes to such a height of ecstasy that his eyes lost focus and slightly crossed themselves."
Word History: Middle English borrowed this word from Old French extasie (Modern French extase). French inherited this word from Late Latin extasis "terror", which had been borrowed earlier from Greek ekstasis "astonishment". Ekstasis was derived from the verb existanai "to displace, put outside of", made up of ek- "out of" + histanai "to put, place" (stanai "placed"). Greek histanai is a prefixed form based on the older root sta- "stand" which also produced English stand, stage, and stay. In Greek it produced stasis "motionlessness", whose adjective was borrowed as English static. The verb meaning "stand" in Latin was stare, which went into the making of the Good Word stamen, stamina. (Let's not become so ecstatic over today's Good Word as to forget to thank Marilyn Zrkos for suggesting it.)