from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of or relating to the under world; subterranean.
  • Springing from the earth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Designating, or pertaining to, gods or spirits of the underworld; esp., relating to the underworld gods of the Greeks, whose worship is widely considered as more primitive in form than that of the Olympian gods. The characteristics of chthonian worship are propitiatory and magical rites and generalized or euphemistic names of the deities, which are supposed to have been primarily ghosts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Pertaining to the underworld; being beneath the earth.

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

  • adjective dwelling beneath the surface of the earth


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek χθόνιος (khthonios, "in or under the ground"), from χθών (khthōn, "ground").


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  • You enter and are stunned by a conspiracy in which the sublime universe of heavenly ogives and the chthonian world of gas guzzlers are juxtaposed.

    --Umberto Eco, 1988, Foucault's Pendulum, p. 7

    September 29, 2008

  • Pertaining to the deities, spirits, and other beings dwelling under the earth.

    Origin: 1840–50; < Greek chthóni(os) (chthon-, s. of chthn earth + -ios adj. suffix) + -an

    February 2, 2009

  • In Sexual Personae (chapter 1), Camille Paglia adopts chthonian (pronounced thoh-nee-uhn) as a substitute for Dionysian, “which has become contaminated with vulgar pleasantries.”

    August 28, 2012