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[dahy-uh-nish-uh n, -nis-ee-uh n, -nahy-see-] /ˌdaɪ əˈnɪʃ ən, -ˈnɪs i ən, -ˈnaɪ si-/
of, relating to, or honoring Dionysus or Bacchus.
recklessly uninhibited; unrestrained; undisciplined; frenzied; orgiastic.
Origin of Dionysian
First recorded in 1600-10; Dionys(us) + -ian Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Dionysian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The two faces of the Greek art he calls the Apollonian and the Dionysian impulses.

    Egoists James Huneker
  • It appeared to him, the profound Greek scholar, as a recrudescence of Dionysian joy.

    Egoists James Huneker
  • This was a strictly Dionysian thought and one shared also by Pico.

    The Oxford Reformers Frederic Seebohm
  • The innocence of youth should be protected from a morality which is far more morbid than the maddest Dionysian revel.

    Suspended Judgments John Cowper Powys
  • Would I were a lovely heap of ivory, and that lovely boys carried me into the Dionysian chorus.

    A Problem in Greek Ethics John Addington Symonds
  • A second clearly marked wave of the Dionysian impulse towards freedom swept over the Western world during the Renaissance.

  • Erigena teaches the restitution of all things under the form of the Dionysian adunatio or deificatio.

  • Despite his praise of the Dionysian element in art and life, a puritan was buried in the nerves of Nietzsche.

    Egoists James Huneker
  • The Dionysian writings presented a way of escape from this terrible alternative.

    The Oxford Reformers Frederic Seebohm
British Dictionary definitions for Dionysian


of or relating to Dionysus
(sometimes not capital) (in the philosophy of Nietzsche) of or relating to the set of creative qualities that encompasses spontaneity, irrationality, the rejection of discipline, etc
(often not capital) wild or orgiastic
of or relating to any of the historical characters named Dionysius
Compare (for senses 2, 3) Apollonian
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Dionysian

of or pertaining to Dionysos, Greek god of wine and revelry, identified with Roman Bacchus. His name is of unknown origin. Or in reference to historical men named Dionysius such as the tyrants of Syracuse and especially Dionysius Exiguus (see A.D.), e.g. Dionysian period of 532 Julian years, when the moon phases recur on the same days of the week.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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