• synonyms


or Si·le·nos, Sei·le·nos

[sahy-lee-nuh s]
noun, plural Si·le·ni [sahy-lee-nahy] /saɪˈli naɪ/ for 2. Classical Mythology.
  1. a forest spirit, sometimes referred to as the oldest of the satyrs and the foster father, teacher, and companion of Dionysus: often represented as a bearded old man.
  2. (lowercase) any of a group of forest spirits similar to satyrs: often represented as a drunken old man with the legs and ears of a horse.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sileni

Historical Examples of sileni

  • Some Sileni of the throng sat on benches and hay-trusses by the wall; and one of them recognized her.

    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

    Thomas Hardy

  • The grape design at the base of the little statue, and the snake supporting the candleholder, both are symbols of the sileni.

  • And after them came two Sileni in purple cloaks and white fringes to them.

  • The p. xxxiiirevel of Dionysus was introduced by men disguised as Sileni, wild woodland beings in raiment of purple and scarlet.

  • The sileni mate with them, and Hermes, too, in the privy recesses of delightful grottoes.

    The Sacred Tree

    J. H. Philpot

British Dictionary definitions for sileni


noun Greek myth
  1. chief of the satyrs and foster father to Dionysus: often depicted riding drunkenly on a donkey
  2. plural Sileni (saɪˈliːnəɪ) (often not capital) one of a class of woodland deities, closely similar to the satyrs
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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 sileni


1710, from Greek Seilenos, foster-father of Bacchus and leader of the satyrs; the name is of unknown origin (Klein compares Thracian zilai "wine").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper