• WordNet 3.6
    • n saturnalia a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity
    • n Saturnalia an orgiastic festival in ancient Rome in honor of Saturn
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Saturnalia Hence: A period or occasion of general license, in which the passions or vices have riotous indulgence.
    • Saturnalia (Rom. Antiq) 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.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • saturnalia In Roman antiquity, the festival of Saturn, celebrated in the middle of December as a harvest-home observance. It was a period of feasting and mirthful license and enjoyment for all classes, extending even to the slaves.
    • saturnalia Hence Any wild or noisy revelry; unconstrained, wild, and licentious reveling. Synonyms Revel, Debauch, etc. See carousal.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Saturnalia the annual festival in honour of Saturn, a time of unrestrained license and enjoyment
    • ***


  • Wyndham Lewis
    “In the democratic western countries so-called capitalism leads a saturnalia of freedom, like a bastard brother of reform.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. See Saturn
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Saturnusserĕre, satum, to sow.


In literature:

It was as if the Saturnalia had arrived.
"Aurelian" by William Ware
I never see her, but amid all the saturnalia she haunts me.
"The Trail of '98" by Robert W. Service
There appears little doubt that the modern Carnival is a survival of the ancient Saturnalia.
"Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome" by E.M. Berens
The saturnalia is brought to a close, when all become so intoxicated they can neither tell story nor sing song.
"The Death Shot" by Mayne Reid
The saturnalia commenced on Christmas evening, at the Humboldt, which, on that very day, had passed into the hands of new proprietors.
"The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52" by Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe
The saturnalia that succeeded the capture of the castaway had come to a close.
"The Boy Slaves" by Mayne Reid
In the name of the Revolution, and under the menace of terror, they dragged the People to these Saturnalia.
"Atheism Among the People" by Alphonse de Lamartine
They were like the Roman slaves who, during the Saturnalia, played at being free.
"Dreamers of the Ghetto" by I. Zangwill
Not a word about that Saturnalia, or the omission of grace at a "warm meal"!
"Walter Pieterse" by Multatuli
Here was a saturnalia of crime condensed into the space of a few hours.
"The Monk of Hambleton" by Armstrong Livingston

In news:

And now, a break from the hype, spin and saturnalia of the convention.