bac·​cha·​nal | \ ˈba-kə-nᵊl How to pronounce bacchanal (audio) , ˈbä-; ˌba-kə-ˈnal How to pronounce bacchanal (audio) , ˌbä-kə-ˈnäl How to pronounce bacchanal (audio) \

Definition of bacchanal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2a : a devotee of Bacchus especially : one who celebrates the Bacchanalia
b : reveler


bac·​cha·​nal | \ ˈba-kə-nᵊl How to pronounce bacchanal (audio) \

Definition of bacchanal (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or suggestive of the Bacchanalia : bacchanalian

Examples of bacchanal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cass Bird gives the party of the year the silent-era treatment, transforming its already Fitzgeraldian decadence into a black-and-white bacchanal worthy of Buster Keaton. Vogue, "Watch Lady Gaga, Zoë Kravitz, and Other Met Gala Guests Party Like It’s 1929," 9 May 2019 Why Go NowThe gorgeously sun-bleached, 58-villa Six Senses Ninh Van Bay has been quietly besting the competition for years, luring a chic yet low-key clientele that’s a world apart from the boozy bacchanal of Nha Trang itself. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Take Your Vietnam Trip to the Next Level," 20 Nov. 2018 Nor do any of Janowski’s current rivals in this repertory have his knack for clarifying the ripe harmonies and rich scoring of the Venusberg bacchanal, while in no way diminishing the music’s whirling sensuality. John Von Rhein,, "Marek Janowski's belated CSO downtown debut sends electric charge through Orchestra Hall," 1 June 2018 The first season of Lifetime’s reality TV satire was a delicious bacchanal of behind-the-scenes machinations, black comedy, and narrative middle fingers to sexist stereotypes., "Dietland Review: #MeToo Revenge Fantasy Doesn’t Have Nearly Enough Bite," 14 May 2018 Never a company to shy from sensationalism, the distributor emerged as the likely suitor for the director's latest bacchanal that stars Sofia Boutella as a dancer who finds pleasure in a no-rules forest orgy. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "What Matters in Hollywood Today," 14 May 2018 What had once been a company dinner turned into a bacchanal of diamonds, furs, jewels and gowns. The Washington Post,, "The wrong Oscars envelope wasn't the first Academy Awards fiasco - this was," 4 Mar. 2018 What had once been a company dinner turned into a bacchanal of diamonds, furs, jewels and gowns. Petula Dvorak,, "The wrong Oscars envelope wasn't the first Academy Awards fiasco - this was," 4 Mar. 2018 What had once been a company dinner turned into a bacchanal of diamonds, furs, jewels and gowns. The Washington Post,, "In 1940, The LA Times spoiled the surprise by printing Oscar winners before the show," 4 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Prada cleverly conceived a hideaway that was, arguably, the most tranquil respite from the Basel bacchanal outside. Nick Remsen, Vogue, "Kanye West, Venus Williams, Emma Roberts, and Theaster Gates Party With Prada in Miami," 7 Dec. 2018 In a more modern era, Elsa Schiaparelli, fashion’s great subverter and Surrealist, delivered a toque hat of bacchanal grapes in 1939. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Fruit Prints Are This Summer’s Biggest Trend—But They Have a Long History in Fashion," 30 July 2018 The post-bacchanal creativity extends to the literary scene in Port of Spain. New York Times, "In Post-Carnival Trinidad, the Party Never Really Ends," 22 Feb. 2018 The entire country indulges in a week-long, blossomy bacchanal. Washington Post, "To compete with Japan’s cherry blossom bacchanal, D.C. needs to step up its game. Big time.," 2 Apr. 2018 Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, the front women of the incendiary heavy metal band Butcher Babies, howled about a bacchanal party during their performance Saturday at the Kansas Speedway. Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "Rockfest at the Kansas Speedway draws 30,000 — a big, loud, happy family," 3 June 2018 Participants say the Mad Max, death-race vibe by day is countered by a Burning Man bacchanal at night, fueled by beer but also lots of theatrics. Jason Nark,, "Destined for the junkyard, beloved lemons hit the South Jersey track," 11 May 2018 The Art Basel bacchanal returns to Miami Beach this winter, packed with enough fairs, dinners, and late-night revels to exhaust even the most ambitious gallery girl. Emily Cronin, Harper's BAZAAR, "BAZAAR Goes to Art Basel," 26 Nov. 2013 The week started off with a Raf Simons bacchanal complete with Belgian waffles, dark chocolate, and red wine. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The Biggest News From New York Fashion Week Fall 2018," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bacchanal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bacchanal


1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1550, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bacchanal


Latin, shrine of Bacchus, probably back-formation from Bacchanalia

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Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

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The first known use of bacchanal was in 1550

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