(redirected from Orphics)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


1. Greek Mythology Of or ascribed to Orpheus: the Orphic poems; Orphic mysteries.
2. Of, relating to, or characteristic of the dogmas, mysteries, and philosophical principles set forth in the poems ascribed to Orpheus.
3. Capable of casting a charm or spell; entrancing.
4. often orphic Mystic or occult.

[Greek Orphikos, from Orpheus, Orpheus.]

Or′phi·cal·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Classical Myth & Legend) of or relating to Orpheus or Orphism
2. (sometimes not capital) mystical or occult
ˈOrphically adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɔr fɪk)

1. of or pertaining to Orphism or to the body of literature, attributed to Orpheus.
2. (often l.c.) mystic; oracular.
3. (often l.c.) entrancing: Orphic music.
Or′phi•cal•ly, adv.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.Orphic - ascribed to Orpheus or characteristic of ideas in works ascribed to Orpheus
2.orphic - having an import not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence; beyond ordinary understanding; "mysterious symbols"; "the mystical style of Blake"; "occult lore"; "the secret learning of the ancients"
esoteric - confined to and understandable by only an enlightened inner circle; "a compilation of esoteric philosophical theories"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
Very different in character is the "Hymn to Ares", which is Orphic in character.
It found its way into Hellas probably through the medium of Orphic and Pythagorean rites and mysteries.
For the Orphics, this two-beat process is undergone by "the summer Dionyssos, identifiable with Adonis, Apollo or any other solar deities or solar heroes" (Wolf 8).
In the Orphic Mysteries, the journey constructed upon the pattern of descent and return is performed by the solar god Apollo, "since Orpheus is an Apollonian priest" (Wolf 144).
"Craft versus Sect: The Problem of Orphics and Pythagoreans." In Ben F.
The Orphics also confused groups of daimones: see Hymn 38.20.
In spite of my skepticism about the dualistic reading, I will suggest in the final section that there are in this treatise some essential traces of thoughts traditionally connected with the so called Orphics or Pythagoreans as well, including a specific notion of an immortal soul which can be reborn.
Differences in topic and emphasis, different therapeutic suggestions and different goals in Plato and in the Hippocratic author may offer us a more plastic view on the early history of the philosophical reflections on the eschatological thoughts traditionally connected with the 'Orphics' or 'Pythagoreans', as well as on the very vague frontiers between religion, philosophy and medicine in the Classical Era of ancient Greek history.
It is hard to know how many people (including Plato himself) ever believed this story, or the stories the so-called Orphics told about the afterlife.
Overall, Wright's discussion of Mediterranean cultures covers an enormous period of time and span of literature, from Homer to Aristotle, sixth-century BCE Orphics to fourth-century CE Latin authors, tenth-century Zoroastrian texts to late antique Mithraic art.
The aim of the Orphics was to lead a life of purity and purification, so that eventually the successively reincarnated soul, having purged itself of the Titanic (or earthly) element, would be pure spirit divinely born of Zeus through his son Dionysus and thus would be released from the cycle, eternally to wander the Elysian fields.
The orphic rites apparently included the tearing and eating of animals representing Zagreus, whose myth was probably Thracian or Phrygian in origin.