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

  • n. Mythology A staff tipped with a pine cone and twined with ivy, carried by Dionysus, Dionysian revelers, and satyrs.
  • n. Botany A thyrse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A staff topped with a conical ornament, carried by Bacchus or his followers.
  • n. A species of inflorescence; a dense panicle, as in the lilac and horse-chestnut.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A staff entwined with ivy, and surmounted by a pine cone, or by a bunch of vine or ivy leaves with grapes or berries. It is an attribute of Bacchus, and of the satyrs and others engaging in Bacchic rites.
  • n. A species of inflorescence; a dense panicle, as in the lilac and horse-chestnut.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of the most common attributes or emblems of Dionysus (Bacchus) and his thiasus and vo taries.
  • n. Same as thyrse, 2.

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

  • n. a dense flower cluster (as of the lilac or horse chestnut) in which the main axis is racemose and the branches are cymose


Latin, from Greek thursos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin thyrsus, from Ancient Greek θύρσος (thursos). (Wiktionary)


  • The thyrsus was a long staff, carried by Bacchus, and by the Satyrs and Bacchanalians engaged in the worship of the God of the grape.

    The Metamorphoses of Ovid Vol. I, Books I-VII

  • As she worshipped the god she typically held a thyrsus, a giant fennel staff topped with a pinecone.

    The Spartacus War

  • Satyrs often carry the thyrsus: the rod of Dionysus tipped with a pine cone.

    Pan and Satyrs

  • He is often to be found on this blog, either riding the Behemouth with a cowboy whoop or following behind it on foot, having set it off on a rampage with a swipe of his sacred thyrsus across its arse.

    An A-Z Of This Blog

  • The Dionysian thyrsus, like the later withche's wand, was willow.

    Helen of Troy

  • Theban blood; with no wild waving of the thyrsus, clad in fawnskin thou dancest, but with chariots and bitted steeds wheelest thy charger strong of hoof.

    The Phoenissae

  • Oh! to reach a spot where cursed Cithaeron ne'er shall see me more nor I Cithaeron with mine eyes; where no memorial of the thyrsus is set up!

    The Bacchantes

  • We liked his speech, and placed ourselves in hidden ambush among the leafy thickets; they at the appointed time began to wave the thyrsus for their Bacchic rites, calling on Iacchus, the Bromian god, the son of Zeus, in united chorus, and the whole mount and the wild creatures re-echoed their cry; all nature stirred as they rushed on.

    The Bacchantes

  • Shall I hold the thyrsus in the right or left hand to look most like a Bacchanal?

    The Bacchantes

  • For though the ironshod dart would draw no blood from them, they with the thyrsus, which they hurled, caused many a wound and put their foes to utter rout, women chasing men, by some god's intervention.

    The Bacchantes


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