[ap-uh-loh-nee-uh n]
  1. pertaining to the cult of Apollo.
  2. (lowercase) serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised and disciplined.
  3. (lowercase) having the properties of or preferring classic beauty.Compare Dionysian(def 2).

Origin of Apollonian

1655–65; < Greek apollṓni(os) of Apollo + -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for apollonian

Historical Examples of apollonian

  • The two faces of the Greek art he calls the Apollonian and the Dionysian impulses.


    James Huneker

  • Arnobius and the fathers of the fourth century generally believed in the Apollonian thaumaturgy and attributed it to magic.

    Demonology and Devil-lore

    Moncure Daniel Conway

  • Mayburn, folding his slice of bread-and-butter, took her harshness with Apollonian serenity.

    The Shadow of Life

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

  • I am thus brought face to face with the eternal conflict in art between the Apollonian and the Dionysian principles.

    An Autobiography

    Igor Stravinsky

British Dictionary definitions for apollonian


  1. of or relating to Apollo or the cult of Apollo
  2. (sometimes not capital) (in the philosophy of Nietzsche) denoting or relating to the set of static qualities that encompass form, reason, harmony, sobriety, etc
  3. (often not capital) harmonious; serene; ordered
Compare Dionysian
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

Word Origin and History for apollonian



1660s, from Apollo (Greek Apollon) + -ian. The Greek adjective was Apollonios. The word also is attested in English as Apollinarian (1753), Apolline (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper