- (sometimes used with a plural verb) the festival of Saturn, celebrated in December in ancient Rome as a time of unrestrained merrymaking.
- (lowercase) unrestrained revelry; orgy.
Origin of Saturnalia
Examples from the Web for saturnalia
That is the sense of the Saturnalia, of Mardi Gras and of these moments of entertainment.Joseph Campbell on the Roots of Halloween
October 31, 2014
At the return of the sun the feast of the Saturnalia was celebrated at Rome.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. II
Francis Augustus Cox
They were like the Roman slaves who, during the Saturnalia, played at being free.Dreamers of the Ghetto
The sacea were a festival at Babylon similar to the saturnalia.Folkways
William Graham Sumner
The saturnalia that succeeded the capture of the castaway had come to a close.The Boy Slaves
And I remember that she seemed to describe afterwards a sort of saturnalia.The Good Soldier
Ford Madox Ford
- an ancient Roman festival celebrated in December: renowned for its general merrymaking
- (sometimes not capital) a period or occasion of wild revelry
Word Origin and History for saturnalia
time of merrymaking, 1590s, from Latin Saturnalia, ancient Roman festivals of Saturn (held in December), a time of merrymaking for all, from neuter plural of adjective Saturnalis "pertaining to Saturn," from Saturnus (see Saturn). They correspond to the Greek Kronia. The extended sense of "period of unrestrained revelry" is first attested 1782. Related: Saturnalian.