Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Greek Mythology A woman member of the orgiastic cult of Dionysus.
  • n. A frenzied woman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A female follower of Dionysus, associated with intense reveling.
  • n. An excessively wild or emotional woman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A Bacchante; a priestess or votary of Bacchus.
  • n. A frantic or frenzied woman.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Greek myth, a female member of the attendant train of Bacchus; hence, a priestess of Bacchus; one of the women who celebrated the festivals of Bacchus with mad songs and dancing and boisterous courses in gay companies amid the crags of Parnassus and Cithæron, particularly on the occasion of the great triennial Bacchic festival.
  • n. Hence Any woman under the influence of unnatural excitement or frenzy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an unnaturally frenzied or distraught woman
  • n. (Greek mythology) a woman participant in the orgiastic rites of Dionysus

Etymologies

Latin Maenas, Maenad-, from Greek mainas, raving, madwoman, Maenad, from mainesthai, to be mad; see men-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I came across this word in reading the first two vampire books by Charlaine Harris: Dead Until Dark & Living Dead in Dallas. When a character is called a Maenad, it was the first time I ever heard the word. The Harris books are the basis of the HBO series "TrueBlood".

    June 6, 2009

  • Not to be confused with a monad.

    March 15, 2009

  • WeirdNet, pretending just once that women generally are frenzied bacchantes would have done.

    May 12, 2008