[bak-uh-ney-lee-uh, -neyl-yuh]

noun, plural Bac·cha·na·li·a, Bac·cha·na·li·as.

(sometimes used with a plural verb) a festival in honor of Bacchus.Compare Dionysia.
(lowercase) a drunken feast; orgy.

Origin of Bacchanalia

1625–35; < Latin equivalent to Bacch(us) + -ān(us) -an + -ālia, neuter plural of -ālis -al1; probably modeled on volcānālia. See Saturnalia
Related formsbac·cha·na·li·an, adjective, nounbac·cha·na·li·an·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for bacchanalia


pl n

(often capital) orgiastic rites associated with Bacchus
any drunken revelry
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 bacchanalia

"drunken revelry," 1630s, from the name of the Roman festival held in honor of Bacchus, from neuter plural of Latin bacchanalis (see bacchanal). A participant is a Bacchant (1690s), fem. Bacchante, from French. The plural of both is Bacchantes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper