Definitions for saturnaliaˌsæt ərˈneɪ li ə, -ˈneɪl yə

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word saturnalia

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

Sat•ur•na•li•aˌsæt ərˈneɪ li ə, -ˈneɪl yə(n.)(pl.)-li•a, -li•as.

  1. (sometimes used with a pl. v.) the festival of Saturn, celebrated in December in ancient Rome as a time of unrestrained merrymaking.

    Category: Antiquities

  2. (l.c.) any unrestrained revelry; orgy.

Origin of Saturnalia:

1585–95; < L Sāturnālia=Sāturn(us)Saturn+-ālia, neut. pl. of -ālis -al1

Sat`ur•na′li•an(adj.)

Princeton's WordNet

  1. Saturnalia(noun)

    an orgiastic festival in ancient Rome in honor of Saturn

  2. orgy, debauch, debauchery, saturnalia, riot, bacchanal, bacchanalia, drunken revelry(noun)

    a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity

Wiktionary

  1. Saturnalia(ProperNoun)

    A holiday to mark the winter solstice.

  2. saturnalia(Noun)

    A period or occasion of general license, in which the passions or vices have riotous indulgence; a period of unrestrained revelry.

    2001. "We advanced into the main hall, already aroar with a saturnalia of sozzled gestures and gibbering." uE000185970uE001 Chip Kidd, The Cheese Monkeys

  3. Origin: From Sāturnālia, a festival of the winter solstice

Webster Dictionary

  1. Saturnalia

    the festival of Saturn, celebrated in December, originally during one day, but afterward during seven days, as a period of unrestrained license and merriment for all classes, extending even to the slaves

  2. Saturnalia

    hence: A period or occasion of general license, in which the passions or vices have riotous indulgence

Freebase

  1. Saturnalia

    Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the deity Saturn held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called it "the best of days." In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of social egalitarianism. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia. Although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects. The Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name by Macrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for the holiday. In one of the interpretations in Macrobius's work, Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun," on December 25.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Saturnalia

    a festival in ancient Rome in honour of Saturn, in which all classes, free and bond, and young and old, enjoyed and indulged in all kinds of merriment without restraint.

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