Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


a.1.Of or pertaining to the Saturnalia.
2.Of unrestrained and intemperate jollity; riotously merry; dissolute.
References in classic literature ?
Having declared her intention of staying till the master could get about again, "wage or no wage," she had found a certain recompense in keeping a strong hand over her mistress, scolding her for "moithering" herself, and going about all day without changing her cap, and looking as if she was "mushed." Altogether, this time of trouble was rather a Saturnalian time to Kezia; she could scold her betters with unreproved freedom.
The bull rituals and the saturnalian sexual orgies of Knossos recall to mind the fertility rites that Frazer speaks about in his The Golden Bough.
Moore 1998, 179: 'An additional motive must have been the Saturnalian fun inherent in a wife overcoming her husband: the success of the usually subservient wife would bring pleasure similar to that produced by Plautus's many successful slaves."
Fontaine's chapter on "two paradigms" in Plautine studies oversimplifies the distinction between what he calls the "Saturnalian" and the "Hellenistic" approaches, refusing to acknowledge that the same audience members could appreciate both sophisticated verbal play and wide farce.
Much has been written about the Saturnalian nature of A Midsummer Night's Dream, but if we are to accept that Nick Bottom is a signifier of such a vision, we cannot deny Puck's role in the creation of such a sign.
The Pure Gold Baby considers, with saturnalian humour and elegiac sorrow, how far the author's generation has come." STEVIE DAVIES, INDEPENDENT (UK), 11/1/2013
(6) Jaques participates in meditations upon both quotidian and historical time; by the end of the play, he is a uniquely Saturnalian figure, a gloomy Chronos who refuses to be swept up into the play's final festivities because the forces he represents cannot be forestalled by marriage or recuperated by comedy.
Ignatius, acting as a saturnalian Lord of Misrule, has upended the social relationships that were trapping Burma and Gus.
Acoustic music fans will find their way to The Saturnalian Arms, a traditional real ale pub run by staff from Huddersfield boozer The Sportsman.
As Mikhail Bakhtin argues in his introduction to Rabelais and his World, the carnival spirit derives from the ancient Roman Saturnalias, which were perceived as a "true and full, though temporary, return of Saturn's golden age upon earth." (26) The Saturnalian tradition seeped into the Medieval and Renaissance episteme and remained unbroken and alive in the carnival custom, and they expressed the universal renewal and a possible escape from everyday life.