noun, plural Si·le·ni [sahy-lee-nahy] /saɪˈli naɪ/ for 2. Classical Mythology.
- a forest spirit, sometimes referred to as the oldest of the satyrs and the foster father, teacher, and companion of Dionysus: often represented as a bearded old man.
- (lowercase) any of a group of forest spirits similar to satyrs: often represented as a drunken old man with the legs and ears of a horse.
noun Greek myth
- chief of the satyrs and foster father to Dionysus: often depicted riding drunkenly on a donkey
- plural Sileni (saɪˈliːnəɪ) (often not capital) one of a class of woodland deities, closely similar to the satyrs
1710, from Greek Seilenos, foster-father of Bacchus and leader of the satyrs; the name is of unknown origin (Klein compares Thracian zilai “wine”).