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[mee-nad] /ˈmi næd/
a frenzied or raging woman.
Origin of maenad
1570-80; < Latin Maenad- (stem of Maenas) < Greek Mainás a bacchante, special use of mainás madwoman
Related forms
maenadic, adjective
maenadism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for maenad
Historical Examples
  • These were the eyes of a girl who had raved like a maenad the night through.

  • maenad: a frenzied Nymph, attendant on Dionysus in the Greek mythology.

  • Her eye gleamed: she ran to the cupboard and took out the maenad's dress.

    The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • I was in a mind to wring the maenad's neck three minutes ago.

    The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • But that statue will put it all right,' and she pointed behind her to the maenad.

    The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • The tigress-mother swelled in her heart, and she looked like a maenad indeed.

    Thomas Wingfold, Curate George MacDonald
  • He followed: but the intense passion of the old hag hurled her onward with the strength and speed of a young maenad.

    Hypatia Charles Kingsley
  • She ceased to be a woman, complex, kind and petulant, considerate and thoughtless; she was a maenad.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
  • She felt the gravity of his tone but, like a fierce maenad, she snatched at the torch, not caring how it revealed her.

    Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • She flings her arms and tresses of Fire to the stars, a maenad in the planetary dance.

    The Masque of the Elements Herman Scheffauer
British Dictionary definitions for maenad


(classical myth) a woman participant in the orgiastic rites of Dionysus; bacchante
a frenzied woman
Derived Forms
maenadic, adjective
maenadically, adverb
maenadism, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin Maenas, from Greek mainas madwoman
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 maenad

"Bacchante," 1570s, from Greek mainas (genitive mainados) "priestess of Bacchus," literally "madwoman," from stem of mainesthai "to rage, go mad" (see mania).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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