Definition of Dionysian in English:


(also Dionysiac)


  • 1Greek Mythology
    Relating to the god Dionysus.

    • ‘These are found in a number of myths, notably that of Endymion, and on Dionysiac sarcophagi, where personifications of the seasons often also appear.’
    • ‘Their research revealed that more than a few Bacchic and Dionysian cults survived the fall of Rome and the Rise of Christianity, and some still exist to this day.’
    • ‘The tribes also passed honorary decrees, awarded honorific crowns, and sponsored dinners for all members at the time of the Dionysiac and Panathenaic festivals.’
    • ‘The Bacchae is about Dionysiac frenzy and, although the play praises Dionysus for his gift of wine which lessens the cares of mortals, the madness that he brings is not the result of excessive consumption of wine.’
    • ‘This does not necessarily mean that Euripides was an initiate of Dionysian mysteries, or that his portrayal of the god's worshippers (the Maenads) is a honest one.’
  • 2Relating to the sensual, spontaneous, and emotional aspects of human nature.

    ‘dark, grand Dionysian music’
    Compare with Apollonian
    • ‘But the fury with which addicts of various schools fight for their theories presents rather a Dionysian aspect.’
    • ‘She was the only woman I remember presenting, and her poems were all paeans or enactments of female desire - more Dionysian than Apollonian.’
    • ‘If it is impossible to compass flux, truly to prescribe life a symbolic form, then notions of Apollonian order, of Dionysian excess, are no different; merely another illusory device.’
    • ‘Yet it is Martin Luther's critique of the Dionysian understanding of negative theology that may equip us to refute the growing interest in this apophatic move by academic post-modernity.’
    • ‘The stock market again shook off its moral stigma, its Dionysian aspects resurfaced and speculating on margin became as sexy as wearing short skirts and drinking bathtub gin.’
    • ‘The Dionysian aspect of the aesthetic experience allows psychic energy that is normally barred from escape to flow out and include the object of perception.’
    • ‘They seem spontaneous, even playful, like a release of Dionysian exuberance.’
    • ‘I feel have too much Dionysian influence around me now; by and large I try not to invite more.’
    • ‘His self-induced guilt of survival suppresses his innate Dionysian need for emotional connection.’
    • ‘Does Blanchot follow Nietzsche and Bataille in forgetting the world of Apollinian order and reason, and remembering the world of Dionysian suffering?’
    • ‘It's such a detailed map of culture and philosophy and psychology, and a poignant rendering of the struggle between Apollonian and Dionysian tendencies.’
    • ‘He and Doris Humphrey, his mentor, spoke constantly about the contrast between Apollonian and Dionysian qualities.’
    • ‘It is a very Dionysian and self-celebratory experience, but the self is without any sense of static identity.’
    • ‘Luther's critique of the Dionysian apophatic, however, is not some Protestant innovation, as I have documented in my Lutheran Quarterly essay.’
    • ‘In his essays this perspective is linked to the Greeks' doctrine of moderation and the demand for a balance between the Apollonian and Dionysian forces.’
    • ‘He takes the experiences we have of Apolline art (sculpture, painting, above all the epic) and Dionysiac art (music, tragedy) as his data, and asks how the world must be in order for these experiences to be vouchsafed us.’
    • ‘He thinks so logically that he is more like an Apollonian scholar than a Dionysian artist.’
    • ‘Andriessen's bellwork, like his clockwork, retains rather more of Dionysian abandon than of Apollonian detachment or serenity.’
    • ‘I remember when we were discussing this earlier you were saying that in a way this tends to stack up as an argument between the Apollonian and the Dionysian view.’
    • ‘An assured and engaging ham, Cunningham is the perfect guide, deftly capturing Provincetown's Dionysian delights and Apollonian beauty with wit, whimsy, and lyricism.’
    physical, physically gratifying, carnal, bodily, fleshly, animal
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