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[dahy-uh-nish-uh n, -nis-ee-uh n, -nahy-see-] /ˌdaɪ əˈnɪʃ ən, -ˈnɪs i ən, -ˈnaɪ si-/
of, relating to, or honoring Dionysus or Bacchus.
recklessly uninhibited; unrestrained; undisciplined; frenzied; orgiastic.
Origin of Dionysian
1600-10; Dionys(us) + -ian Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Dionysian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Too, the Beta curve shows a good deal of variation, a Dionysian characteristic.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • This was a strictly Dionysian thought and one shared also by Pico.

    The Oxford Reformers Frederic Seebohm
  • The Dionysian writings presented a way of escape from this terrible alternative.

    The Oxford Reformers Frederic Seebohm
  • A second clearly marked wave of the Dionysian impulse towards freedom swept over the Western world during the Renaissance.

  • Again and again the phraseology used by Colet betrays it, and sometimes a Dionysian turn of thought leads to a long digression.

    The Oxford Reformers Frederic Seebohm
  • The influence of the Dionysian writings is indeed very frequently evident.

    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
  • It is impossible not to see in this a ritualism rather of the Dionysian than of the modern sacerdotal type.

    The Oxford Reformers Frederic Seebohm
  • Erigena teaches the restitution of all things under the form of the Dionysian adunatio or deificatio.

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
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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
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