chthonic

adjective
chthon·​ic | \ˈthä-nik \
variants: or less commonly chthonian \ˈthō-​nē-​ən \

Definition of chthonic 

: of or relating to the underworld : infernal chthonic deities

Keep scrolling for more

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).

Examples of chthonic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Some chthonic texts written during the early-to-mid aughts characterize Tumblr as a portal to the underworld. Sara Lautman, The New Yorker, "Social-Media Creation Myths," 25 May 2017

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.

First Known Use of chthonic

1882, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chthonic

Greek chthon-, chthōn earth — more at humble

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chthonic

Listen to Our Podcast about chthonic

Dictionary Entries near chthonic

Chrysotrichales

chrystocrene

cht

chthonic

chtr

Chu

Chuana

Statistics for chthonic

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chthonic

The first known use of chthonic was in 1882

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on chthonic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chthonic

Comments on chthonic

What made you want to look up chthonic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!