Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or relating to the underworld.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of or pertaining to the under world.

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

  • adjective Pertaining to the earth; earthy.

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

  • adjective Dwelling within or under the earth.

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

  • adjective dwelling beneath the surface of the earth

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Greek khthonios, of the earth, from khthōn, earth; see dhghem- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek χθών (khthōn, "ground").

Examples

  • [701] The idea that this number was "chthonic" and a monopoly of the Sibylline utterances was started by

    The Religious Experience of the Roman People From the Earliest Times to the Age of Augustus

  • The ensuing race to the deadline is a pacy affair that alternates between the hapless Tamara's frequent recourse to her thesaurus S*nday, she reckons, is just the place to scatter words such as "chthonic" and "hermeneutic" and Tait's grim determination to keep her would-be profiler at bay, particularly from her rather murky private life.

    The Spoiler by Annalena McAfee – review

  • Ingersoll traces all images of the dragon back to Tiamat, the watery, primordial goddess slain by Marduk in the Enuma Elish, a Babylonian version of the combat myth; as they appear in various myths around the world, dragons are typicallly associated with water, though in different contexts, so that some are rain gods, some are guardians of underground pools, and some are chthonic representatives of the chaotic sea.

    You Go, Greydanus, or, O'Brien and the Dragon

  • Ingersoll traces all images of the dragon back to Tiamat, the watery, primordial goddess slain by Marduk in the Enuma Elish, a Babylonian version of the combat myth; as they appear in various myths around the world, dragons are typicallly associated with water, though in different contexts, so that some are rain gods, some are guardians of underground pools, and some are chthonic representatives of the chaotic sea.

    Archive 2010-03-01

  • The point of low fantasy is to watch clean-limbed fighting men from Virginia clash flashing blades against surly yet brawny barbarians from Cimmeria during the last days of Rome on Mars or something, and maybe rescue a half-naked space princess from eldritch evil priests, eldritch chthonic demons, eldritch undead, eldritch pirates, eldritch highwaymen, eldritch encyclopedia salesmen of darkness.

    MIND MELD: Gods by the Bushel

  • Can you imagine in the 1930's, the heroic central character fighting evil wizards and chthonic monsters alongside a black man?

    intertribal: hope I don't break my arm falling out of the treehouse

  • The car the Aventador replaces, the Murcielago, set the modern standard for dysfunctional supercar love: ferocious, belt-high, chthonic, a car so pagan you should use a reindeer cape as a car cover.

    Lambo's Latest Rambo Has a Heart

  • Andre Bauer and why I am a refugee in my own country (NSFW) by chthonic no comments, 3 recommends

    Dems Must Step Up to Majority Governance after the Massachusetts Mess

  • Andre Bauer and why I am a refugee in my own country (NSFW) by chthonic no comments, 3 recommends

    Dems Must Step Up to Majority Governance after the Massachusetts Mess

  • The chthonic Dick Whitman still lurks in the shadows, threatening to resurface when others discover the secret box of relics.

    Janet Turley: Mad Men Season 4, Episode 6 -- Dissolving Identity and the Female Gaze

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • I like the way Ralph Ellison in Invislbe Man adapts this word as the name of the building in which the narrator is introduced to The Brotherhood:

    We stopped before an expensive-looking building in a strange part of the city. I could see the word Chthonian on the storm awning stretched above the walk as I got out with the others and went swiftly toward a lobby lighted by dim bulbs set behind frosted glass, going past the uniformed doorman with an uncanny sense of familiarity; feeling now, as we entered a sound-proof elevator and shot away at a mile a minute, that I had been through it all before.

    Ellison, Invisible Man, 14

    Funny how a mythical allusion works the mind, transforming the subsequent details into something altogether new - making an up-to-now hidden world out of details from the ordinary world. The character is being ushered into an "underground" by going up in an elevator.

    January 7, 2007

  • actually brtom your citation doesn't say anything about up.

    The second sentence of your quotation contains 70 words, giving it readability index scores of Flesch Reading Ease = 50.4, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of 12.0

    July 24, 2008

  • It doesn't seem particularly sensible to apply these readability indices to an individual sentence. Each involves an *average* sentence length, suggesting a lack of validity when the calculation is based on only one sentence.

    July 24, 2008

  • It's been ages since I read that splendid novel, must do so again.

    July 24, 2008

  • See also autochthonous, heterochthonous.

    August 8, 2008

  • Pretty underground still, apparently.

    October 11, 2008

  • "The chthonic power - namely, the Earth - lived in her while Heaven lived in man"

    - Julius Evola in "The Revolt against the Modern World"

    March 23, 2009

  • "There are traces of the old Christianity at Lakewood Church—or perhaps I should say traces of religion in general—lingering like the echoes of archaic chthonic cults that could still be found in classical Greek mythology and ritual." (Ehrenreich 2009)

    April 20, 2012

  • 'The question of the chthonic spirit has occupied me ever since I began to delve into the world of alchemy’. Jung qoted in The Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson 2010.

    April 20, 2013