Used by 17c. mystical writers for "a state of rapture that stupefied the body while the soul contemplated divine things," which probably helped the meaning shift to "exalted state of good feeling" (1610s). Slang use for the drug 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine dates from 1985. Formerly also spelled ecstasie, extacy, extasy, etc. Attempts to coin a verb to go with it include ecstasy (1620s), ecstatize (1650s), ecstasiate (1823), ecstasize (1830).
*stā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to stand, set down, make or be firm," with derivatives meaning "place or thing that is standing."
It forms all or part of: Afghanistan; Anastasia; apostasy; apostate; armistice; arrest; assist; astatic; astatine; Baluchistan; bedstead; circumstance; consist; constable; constant; constitute; contrast; cost; desist; destination; destine; destitute; diastase; distance; distant; ecstasy; epistasis; epistemology; establish; estaminet; estate; etagere; existence; extant; Hindustan; histidine; histo-; histogram; histology; histone; hypostasis; insist; instant; instauration; institute; interstice; isostasy; isostatic; Kazakhstan; metastasis; obstacle; obstetric; obstinate; oust; Pakistan; peristyle; persist; post (n.1) "timber set upright;" press (v.2) "force into service;" presto; prostate; prostitute; resist; rest (v.2) "to be left, remain;" restitution; restive; restore; shtetl; solstice; stable (adj.) "secure against falling;" stable (n.) "building for domestic animals;" stage; stalag; stalwart; stamen; -stan; stance; stanchion; stand; standard; stanza; stapes; starboard; stare decisis; stasis; -stat; stat; state (n.1) "circumstances, conditions;" stater; static; station; statistics; stator; statue; stature; status; statute; staunch; (adj.) "strong, substantial;" stay (v.1) "come to a halt, remain in place;" stay (n.2) "strong rope which supports a ship's mast;" stead; steed; steer (n.) "male beef cattle;" steer (v.) "guide the course of a vehicle;" stem (n.) "trunk of a plant;" stern (n.) "hind part of a ship;" stet; stoa; stoic; stool; store; stound; stow; stud (n.1) "nailhead, knob;" stud (n.2) "horse kept for breeding;" stylite; subsist; substance; substitute; substitution; superstition; system; Taurus; understand.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit tisthati "stands;" Avestan histaiti "to stand;" Persian -stan "country," literally "where one stands;" Greek histēmi "put, place, cause to stand; weigh," stasis "a standing still," statos "placed," stylos "pillar;" Latin sistere "stand still, stop, make stand, place, produce in court," status "manner, position, condition, attitude," stare "to stand," statio "station, post;" Lithuanian stojuos "I place myself," statau "I place;" Old Church Slavonic staja "place myself," stanu "position;" Gothic standan, Old English standan "to stand," stede "place;" Old Norse steði "anvil;" Old Irish sessam "the act of standing."
mid-14c., "ravenous;" late 14c., "enchanting, exciting rapture or ecstasy;" present-participle adjective from ravish (v.). The figurative notion is of "carrying off from earth to heaven." Related: Ravishingly.
"of or pertaining to charisma," 1851, in Bible commentary and theology, in reference to the operation of the Holy Spirit and prophetic ecstasy in the early Church (from the use of Greek kharismata in Romans xii), from Latin stem of charisma + -ic. As a movement in modern Christianity emphasizing divine gifts of healing, tongues, etc., attested by 1936, reflecting the older sense of charisma.
"frenzy or rapture supposed to take hold of a man upon gazing on a nymph," 1775, coined by Richard Chandler, in "Travels in Greece," from nymph, on model of epilepsy, with second element from stem of Greek lambanein "to take." Sometimes used in an extended, general sense of "ecstasy or frenzy caused by desire for the unattainable." Ancient Greek had nympholeptos "caught by nymphs." Related: Nympholept; nympholeptic.
c. 1600, "act of carrying off" as prey or plunder, from rapt + -ure, or else from French rapture, from Medieval Latin raptura "seizure, rape, kidnapping," from Latin raptus "a carrying off, abduction, snatching away; rape" (see rapt). The earliest attested use in English is with women as objects and in 17c. it sometimes meant rape (v.), which word is a cognate of this one.
The sense of "spiritual ecstasy, state of mental transport or exaltation" is recorded by c. 1600 (raptures). The connecting notion is a sudden or violent taking and carrying away. The meaning "expression of exalted or passionate feeling" in words or music is from 1610s.
c. 1300, ravishen, "to seize (someone) by violence, carry away (a person, especially a woman)," from Old French raviss-, present-participle stem of ravir "to seize, take away hastily," from Vulgar Latin *rapire, from Latin rapere "to seize and carry off, carry away suddenly, hurry away" (see rapid). Since the earliest uses in English "sometimes implying subsequent violation" [OED]; the meaning transferred "commit rape upon" is recorded by mid-15c. In Middle English also "to plagiarize; to transport (someone) mentally into an ecstasy." Related: Ravished; ravishing.