adjective (1)
Ap·​ol·​lo·​ni·​an | \ ˌa-pə-ˈlō-nē-ən How to pronounce Apollonian (audio) \

Definition of Apollonian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or resembling the god Apollo
2 : harmonious, measured, ordered, or balanced in character — compare dionysian


adjective (2)

Definition of Apollonian (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or characteristic of the Greek poet Apollonius or his writings

Did You Know?

To the ancient Greeks, Apollo represented the perfection of youthful manhood. He was the god of music, poetry, archery, prophecy, and healing, among other things. English speakers began using the adjective Apollonian for someone who resembled Apollo in physical beauty or talent as long ago as 1663. Due partly to the work of Nietzsche and other German scholars, we now associate Apollo with the forces of calm rationality (as opposed to the Dionysian forces, which are instinctive, frenzied, and uninhibited). Despite these associations, Apollo himself was not always a force of reason-he had a terrible temper and a lust for young girls as well.

First Known Use of Apollonian

Adjective (1)

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective (2)

1664, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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The first known use of Apollonian was in 1663

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