Definition of chthonic in English:


See synonyms for chthonic on


(also chthonian)
  • Concerning, belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld.

    ‘a chthonic deity’
    • ‘For Apollo presents life in a way that is tolerable, through exclusion of the chthonic depths; while Dionysus ignores nothing, forcing us to face the fundamental terrors of existence.’
    • ‘In all their dark glamor, they evoke the global workings of industry, awful and chthonic.’
    • ‘It is here that all the real drama of the Great Feud takes place, as in the chthonic struggles of old.’
    • ‘Seeking deeper inspiration, the erudite Masson turned to the somber, chthonic Greek myths.’
    • ‘Between them, these two words offer a tantalising glimpse back into a much earlier world, where Saturn is not so much an astral entity but a chthonic one, a god of the earth and agriculture.’
    • ‘They performed uncanny sacrifices to chthonian deities; subterranean caves,, were opened, pigs thrown down into the depths; probably there was a bigger, secret sacrifice towards the end of the festival.’
    • ‘Nevertheless the idea has tapped into a latent, even chthonic passion for spelling words and 100,000 children applied to take part.’
    • ‘Hicks's subjects - people, animals and a chthonic hybrid of the two - are classical, weighty and strong, and she has a deft touch with her materials.’
    • ‘Rather, it is a kind of mythical or ur-nature, one associated with a primordial existence, chthonic gods and the enigmatic and destructive figure of the sphinx.’
    • ‘In Art, unclothed masses bathe in mud and ochre pits, their chthonian exteriors perhaps later decorated with fluorescent murals.’
    • ‘Even the classical myths we still know bear traces of this ancient chthonic spirituality - just as our modern truths remain fully and unavoidably mythic.’
    • ‘The books are simply books, entertaining fantasies, not a gateway into the Dionysian worship of the chthonic Great Mother and not a paragon of moral virtue either.’
    • ‘Some are literally just snakes, but others are used according to Biblical symbolism to show the chaotic and chthonic powers of Satan in conflict with the saints, angels or Christ.’
    • ‘Side by side with Loney's elegy, interviews from half a century after the event talked of the rural darkness that city dwellers seldom see, and the sulphur stench that suggested another, chthonic darkness.’
    • ‘In temperament and style DeLillo is Apollonian, a secret sharer with his technocrats and obsessives, whereas Pynchon is chthonic, in touch with darker gods.’
    • ‘Who has lordship over the dead: the ouranic Lord symbolized by the Lamb or the chthonic Hecate, symbolized by her dogs?’
    • ‘Since both Hecate and dogs were commonly thought of as chthonic, the association of both with magical herbs and roots is logical.’
    • ‘It's a falling off sort of place where the ‘real’ slides into a chthonic state of being.’
    • ‘We see this in the way two large rock formations in ‘Equator’ rise from the sea like chthonic gods.’
    • ‘The totality of chthonic tradition could thus serve the goal of human dignity as effectively as a western code of human rights.’
    of hell, hellish, lower, nether, subterranean, underworld



/ˈTHänik/ /ˈθɑnɪk/


Late 19th century from Greek khthōn ‘earth’+ -ic.