sa·​tyr ˈsā-tər How to pronounce satyr (audio)
 chiefly British  ˈsa-
often capitalized : a sylvan deity in Greek mythology having certain characteristics of a horse or goat and fond of Dionysian revelry
: a lecherous man
: one having satyriasis
: any of various satyrid butterflies
sā-ˈtir-ik How to pronounce satyr (audio)

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Satyrs, the minor forest gods of Greek mythology, had the face, torso, and arms of a man, the ears and tail of a goat, and two goatlike legs. Fond of the pleasures associated with Dionysus (or Bacchus), the god of wine, they were full of playful and sometimes violent energies, and spent much of their time chasing the beautiful nature spirits known as nymphs. Satyrs show up over and over in ancient art. The Greek god Pan, with his reed pipes and mischievous delight in life, had the appearance and character of a satyr but greater powers. Notice how satyr is pronounced; it's quite different from satire.

Examples of satyr in a Sentence

the legendary conquests of a suburban satyr
Recent Examples on the Web That applies to only the Mitchell’s satyr Butterfly, found in Alabama. John Sharp |, al, 6 Aug. 2023 Five birds and one insect, the Mitchell’s satyr butterfly. Dennis Pillion |, al, 4 July 2023 In one particularly evocative small clay sculpture, two figures that may represent a satyr and a nymph are embracing. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 23 June 2023 Steven Van Zandt has the mischievous glint of a satyr. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2023 Fosse, after all, was creating in his own image, whether rendering himself as a satyr, a sot or a snake. Jesse Green, New York Times, 19 Mar. 2023 Barker-Barzel carves bold lines to depict birds with feline faces, contented cats with intact fish in their bellies and a satyr, part man and part goat. Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2020 El Beh wears a skirt appliquéd with Medusa’s head and a chapeau of red-cap mushrooms; Trebien Pollard’s satyr-priest wears huge orange horns and an undulating Dionysian frieze. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 23 Jan. 2022 This review has been updated to correct a misidentification of who played the leaping satyr. Jeffrey Gantz,, 28 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Latin satyrus, from Greek satyros

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of satyr was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near satyr

Cite this Entry

“Satyr.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


sa·​tyr ˈsāt-ər How to pronounce satyr (audio)
often capitalized : a forest god believed by the ancient Greeks to have the ears and tail of a horse or goat and to enjoy rowdy pleasures
: a man having strong sexual desire

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