Etymology
Advertisement
symposium (n.)

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.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
geisha (n.)
1887, "Japanese girl whose profession is to sing and dance to entertain men;" hence, loosely, "prostitute," from Japanese, literally "person accomplished in the social arts," from gei "art, performance" + sha "person." Compare almah, and Athenian auletrides "flute-girls," female musicians who entertained guests at a symposium with music at the start of the party and sex at the end of it.
Related entries & more 
uranian (adj.)

"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).

Related entries & more