Definition of chthonic
: of or relating to the underworld : infernal chthonic deities
chthonic was our Word of the Day on 08/06/2017. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of chthonic from the Web
Some chthonic texts written during the early-to-mid aughts characterize Tumblr as a portal to the underworld.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chthonic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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).
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