sat·​ur·​na·​lia | \ ˌsa-tər-ˈnāl-yə How to pronounce saturnalia (audio) , -ˈnā-lē-ə \

Definition of saturnalia

1 capitalized : the festival of Saturn in ancient Rome beginning on December 17
2 singular, plural saturnalias also saturnalia
a : an unrestrained often licentious celebration : orgy

Other Words from saturnalia

saturnalian \ ˌsa-​tər-​ˈnāl-​yən How to pronounce saturnalia (audio) , -​ˈnā-​lē-​ən \ adjective
saturnalianly adverb

Examples of saturnalia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This summer’s Matterhorn spike is enhanced by COVID cabin fever and protest saturnalia. Nr Editors, National Review, 20 Aug. 2020 Palm Springs is a playground of shape and color, a mid-century marvel of manicured lawns, modernist homes (glass, stone, terrazzo, and Formica), and poolside saturnalia set within an arid ecosystem that can seem like the surface of Mars. Jennifer Emerling, National Geographic, 6 Aug. 2019

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

First Known Use of saturnalia

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for saturnalia

Latin, from neuter plural of saturnalis of Saturn, from Saturnus

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The first known use of saturnalia was in 1538

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Cite this Entry

“Saturnalia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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