Definition of thyrsus in English:



  • (in ancient Greece and Rome) a staff or spear tipped with an ornament like a pine cone, carried by Bacchus and his followers.

    • ‘The fabulous history of Bacchus relates that he converted the thyrsi carried by himself and his followers into dangerous weapons, by concealing an iron point in the head of leaves.’
    • ‘A thyrsus (thyrsos) was a sacred implement at religious rituals and festivals.’
    • ‘Frenzied with wine they rushed through woods and over mountains uttering sharp cries, waving pine-cone-tipped wands (thyrsi).’
    • ‘His symbols are the phallus, the thyrsus, and the bull.’
    • ‘Primrose is a very leafy shrub, producing small, yellowish thyrsi.’
    • ‘He is dressed a maenad, with a long linen dress covered by a fawnskin, a thyrsus in his hand, a long blond wing bound with a ribbon on his head.’


Latin, from Greek thursos ‘plant stalk, Bacchic staff’.