[dahy-uh-nish-uh n, -nis-ee-uh n, -nahy-see-]


of, relating to, or honoring Dionysus or Bacchus.
recklessly uninhibited; unrestrained; undisciplined; frenzied; orgiastic.

Origin of Dionysian

First recorded in 1600–10; Dionys(us) + -ian
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dionysian

Contemporary Examples of dionysian

Historical Examples of dionysian

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


    James Huneker

  • It appeared to him, the profound Greek scholar, as a recrudescence of Dionysian joy.


    James Huneker

  • This was a strictly Dionysian thought and one shared also by Pico.

    The Oxford Reformers

    Frederic Seebohm

  • The innocence of youth should be protected from a morality which is far more morbid than the maddest Dionysian revel.

    Suspended Judgments

    John Cowper Powys

  • Would I were a lovely heap of ivory, and that lovely boys carried me into the Dionysian chorus.

    A Problem in Greek Ethics

    John Addington Symonds

British Dictionary definitions for dionysian



of or relating to Dionysus
(sometimes not capital) (in the philosophy of Nietzsche) of or relating to the set of creative qualities that encompasses spontaneity, irrationality, the rejection of discipline, etc
(often not capital) wild or orgiastic
of or relating to any of the historical characters named Dionysius
Compare (for senses 2, 3): Apollonian
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 dionysian



of or pertaining to Dionysos, Greek god of wine and revelry, identified with Roman Bacchus. His name is of unknown origin. Or in reference to historical men named Dionysius such as the tyrants of Syracuse and especially Dionysius Exiguus (see A.D.), e.g. Dionysian period of 532 Julian years, when the moon phases recur on the same days of the week.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper