adjective chthon·ic \ˈthä-nik\
variants: or less commonly


play \ˈthō-nē-ən\

Definition of chthonic

  1. :  of or relating to the underworld :  infernal chthonic deities

chthonic was our Word of the Day on 01/05/2008. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Chthonic might seem a lofty and learned word, but it's actually pretty down-to-earth in its origin and meaning. It comes from "chthōn, "which means "earth" in Greek, and it is associated with things that dwell in or under the earth. It is most commonly used in discussions of mythology, particularly underworld mythology. Hades and Persephone, who reign over the underworld in Greek mythology, might be called "chthonic deities," for example. "Chthonic" has broader applications, too. It can be used to describe something that resembles a mythological underworld (e.g.,"chthonic darkness"), and it is sometimes used to describe earthly or natural things (as opposed to those that are elevated or celestial).

Origin and Etymology of chthonic

Greek chthon-, chthōn earth — more at humble

First Known Use: 1882

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to cast off or become cast off

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