1580s, "account of a gathering or party," from Latin symposium "drinking party, symposium," from Greek symposion "drinking party, convivial gathering of the educated" (related to sympotes "drinking companion"), from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + posis "a drinking," from a stem of Aeolic ponen "to drink," from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink."
The symposium usually followed a dinner, for the Greeks did not drink at meals. Its enjoyment was heightened by intellectual or agreeable conversation, by the introduction of music or dancers, and by other amusements. [Century Dictionary]
The sense of "a meeting on some subject" is from 1784. Reflecting the Greek fondness for mixing wine and intellectual discussion, the modern sense is especially from the word being used as a title for one of Plato's dialogues. Greek plural is symposia, and the leader of one is a symposiarch (c. 1600 in English). Related: Symposiac (adj.); symposial.
It forms all or part of: beer; bever; beverage; bib; bibitory; bibulous; hibachi; imbibe; imbrue; pinocytosis; pirogi; poison; potable; potation; potion; symposium.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pati "drinks," panam "beverage;" Greek pinein "to drink," poton "that which one drinks," potos "drinking bout;" Latin potare "to drink," potio "a potion, a drinking," also "poisonous draught, magic potion;" Old Church Slavonic piti "to drink," pivo "beverage."
"homosexual," 1893, from the reference to Aphrodite in Plato's "Symposium;" Urania "Heavenly" (Greek Ourania; see Uranus) being an epithet of Aphrodite as born of Uranus and also as distinguished from the vulgar Venus of commonplace lust.
But the son of the heavenly Aphrodite is sprung from a mother in whose birth the female has no part, but she is from the male only; this is that love which is of youths only, and the goddess being older has nothing of wantonness. Those who are inspired by this love turn to the male, and delight in him who is the more valiant and intelligent nature; any one may recognize the pure enthusiasts in the very character of their attachments. [Benjamin Jowett, transl., 1874]
Also as a noun, "a homosexual person" (1908). Related uranism "homosexuality" (1893).
1530s, "of or pertaining to Greek philosopher Plato" (429 B.C.E.-c. 347 B.C.E.), from Latin Platonicus, from Greek Platōnikos. The name is Greek Platōn, a nickname in reference to his broad shoulders (from platys "broad;" from PIE root *plat- "to spread"); his original name was Aristocles, son of Ariston. The meaning "free of sensual desire" (1630s, in Platonic love "pure spiritual affection unmixed with sexual desire," translating Latin Amor platonicus) which the word usually carries nowadays, is a Renaissance notion; it is based on Plato's writings in "Symposium" about the kind of interest Socrates took in young men and originally had no reference to women. Related: Platonically.
The bond which unites the human to the divine is Love. And Love is the longing of the Soul for Beauty ; the inextinguishable desire which like feels for like, which the divinity within us feels for the divinity revealed to us in Beauty. This is the celebrated Platonic Love, which, from having originally meant a communion of two souls, and that in a rigidly dialectical sense, has been degraded to the expression of maudlin sentiment between the sexes. Platonic love meant ideal sympathy ; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry. [George Henry Lewes, "The History of Philosophy," 1867]