[bak-uh-ney-lee-uh, -neyl-yuh]
See more synonyms for Bacchanalia on
noun, plural Bac·cha·na·li·a, Bac·cha·na·li·as.
  1. (sometimes used with a plural verb) a festival in honor of Bacchus.Compare Dionysia.
  2. (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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for bacchanalian


  1. characterized by or involving drunken revelry
  2. (often capital) of or relating to the orgiastic rites associated with Bacchus


pl n
  1. (often capital) orgiastic rites associated with Bacchus
  2. 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 bacchanalian

1560s; see bacchanalia + -an. As a noun from 1610s.



"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