[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 bacchanalian



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


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 bacchanalian
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper