mae·​nad ˈmē-ˌnad How to pronounce maenad (audio)
: an unnaturally excited or distraught woman
maenadic adjective

Examples of maenad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Manson’s maenads — dirty, barefoot examples of Dionysian abandon — provide the most fascinating sequences of QT’s career. Armond White, National Review, 26 July 2019 All across its 375 square feet swarm birds, masks and maenads—the besotted followers of the god Dionysus. Joshua Levine, Smithsonian, 24 May 2018 The libretto from the premiere has Orpheus being torn to pieces by maenads, the female devotees of Bacchus whose bloodthirsty rampages figure in both the mythology and evidently the historical truth of ancient Greece. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Apr. 2018 An actor’s dance becomes a slaughter; a bathing nymph turns out to be one of a cluster of handless maenads. Douglas Wolk, New York Times, 1 June 2016 Often faces turned up to address the sky, as with the maenads and nymphs whose shapes in Greek sculpture did so much to inspire Duncan. Alastair MacAulay, New York Times, 20 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'maenad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin maenad-, maenas, from Greek mainad-, mainas, from mainesthai to be mad; akin to Greek menos spirit — more at mind

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of maenad was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near maenad

Cite this Entry

“Maenad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on maenad

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!