Word of the Day Archive
Monday August 27, 2001
1. (plural, capitalized) The ancient Roman festival in honor of Bacchus, celebrated with dancing, song, and revelry.
2. A riotous, boisterous, or drunken festivity; a revel.
Alpha Epsilon brothers began their bacchanalia with an off-campus keg party featuring "funneling," in which beer is shot through a rubber hose into the drinker's mouth.
-- Adam Cohen, "Battle of the Binge", Time, September 8, 1997
This is not at all to suggest that the Revolution was a sort of non-stop bacchanalia, but that partial drunkenness was often an important component in a certain type of revolutionary excitability, particularly in meetings or committees.
-- Richard Cobb, The French and Their Revolution
Bacchanalia comes from Latin, from Bacchus, god of wine, from Greek Bakkhos. The adjective form is bacchanalian. One who celebrates the Bacchanalia, or indulges in drunken revels, is a bacchanal \BAK-uh-nuhl; bak-uh-NAL\, which is also another term for a drunken or riotous celebration.