from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Hence Any woman under the influence of unnatural excitement or frenzy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Latin Maenas, Maenad-, from Greek mainas, raving, madwoman, Maenad, from mainesthai, to be mad; see men- in Indo-European roots.]



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

    May 12, 2008

  • Not to be confused with a monad.

    March 15, 2009

  • 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