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

  1. of, relating to, or honoring Dionysus or Bacchus.

  2. recklessly uninhibited; unrestrained; undisciplined; frenzied; orgiastic.

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Origin of Dionysian

First recorded in 1600–10; Dionys(us) + -ian

Words Nearby Dionysian

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use Dionysian in a sentence

  • It was clear to me that at least at the end of his life the Dionysian streak was trying to get out.

  • He changed back to his Dionysian form, circling warily until Mars had followed suit.

    Pagan Passions | Gordon Randall Garrett
  • I am thus brought face to face with the eternal conflict in art between the Apollonian and the Dionysian principles.

    An Autobiography | Igor Stravinsky
  • Book of Mormon chronology therefore sustains in general the correctness of the common or Dionysian system.

    Jesus the Christ | James Edward Talmage
  • The evening was so very young that they felt ridiculous with surplus energy, and burst into the cafe like Dionysian revellers.

    This Side of Paradise | F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • There is a Dionysian strain in his music that too often is in jarring discord with the intellectual structure of his work.

    Ivory Apes and Peacocks | James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for Dionysian


/ (ˌdaɪəˈnɪzɪən) /

  1. of or relating to Dionysus

  2. (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

  1. (often not capital) wild or orgiastic

  2. 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