Definition of chthonic in English:


(also chthonian)


  • Relating to or inhabiting the underworld.

    ‘a chthonic deity’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is here that all the real drama of the Great Feud takes place, as in the chthonic struggles of old.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We see this in the way two large rock formations in ‘Equator’ rise from the sea like chthonic gods.’
    • ‘Seeking deeper inspiration, the erudite Masson turned to the somber, chthonic Greek myths.’
    • ‘Since both Hecate and dogs were commonly thought of as chthonic, the association of both with magical herbs and roots is logical.’
    • ‘The totality of chthonic tradition could thus serve the goal of human dignity as effectively as a western code of human rights.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Nevertheless the idea has tapped into a latent, even chthonic passion for spelling words and 100,000 children applied to take part.’
    • ‘In all their dark glamor, they evoke the global workings of industry, awful and chthonic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Who has lordship over the dead: the ouranic Lord symbolized by the Lamb or the chthonic Hecate, symbolized by her dogs?’
    • ‘In temperament and style DeLillo is Apollonian, a secret sharer with his technocrats and obsessives, whereas Pynchon is chthonic, in touch with darker gods.’
    • ‘Even the classical myths we still know bear traces of this ancient chthonic spirituality - just as our modern truths remain fully and unavoidably mythic.’
    • ‘It's a falling off sort of place where the ‘real’ slides into a chthonic state of being.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In Art, unclothed masses bathe in mud and ochre pits, their chthonian exteriors perhaps later decorated with fluorescent murals.’
    • ‘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.’
    of hell, hellish, lower, nether, subterranean, underworld
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Late 19th century: from Greek khthōn ‘earth’ + -ic.