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Jack Shainman Gallery

Ecstasy
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ecstasy (ek'ste-se) n., pl. -sies.  1. A state of exalted delight in which normal understanding is felt to be surpassed: "allay thy ecstasy; In measure rein thy joy" (Shakespeare).  2. A state of any emotion so intense that rational thought and self-control are obliterated: an ecstasy of anger.  3. The trance, frenzy, or rapture associated with mystic or prophetic exaltation.  [Middle English extasie, from Old French, from Late Latin extasis, ecstasis, from Greek ekstasis, from existanai, to displace, drive out of one's senses: ex-, out  histanai, to place (see sta- in Appendix*.]

Synonyms: ecstasy, rapture, transport, exaltation, euphoria, bliss.  These nouns all have reference to extremely strong emotion.  The first four are now often used interchangably in the approximate sense of joy.  Even in general usage, however, ecstasy retains some of its original sense of a trancelike condition marked by loss of orientation toward rational experience and by concentration on a single emotion, and rapture that of attainment of an elevated state permitting superhuman sensory or emotional experience.  Transport implies violence of feeling and sometimes of accompanying action.  Exaltation and euphoria both involve a sense of extreme personal well-being, but exaltation is the stronger and more elevated term.  Bliss is extreme happiness or joy, considered usually as a relatively tranquil state.




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