Also found in: Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


 (thŏn′ĭk) also chtho·ni·an (thō′nē-ən)
adj. Greek Mythology
Of or relating to the underworld.

[From Greek khthonios, of the earth, from khthōn, earth; see dhghem- in Indo-European roots.]


(ˈθɒn ɪk)

also chtho•ni•an

(ˈθoʊ ni ən)
of or characteristic of the mythological underworld.
[1880–85; < Greek chthón(ios) beneath the earth (adj. derivative of chthṓn earth) + -ic]

chthonic, chthonian

having to do with the underworld.
See also: Earth
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.chthonic - dwelling beneath the surface of the earth; "nether regions"
infernal - being of the underworld; "infernal regions"
References in periodicals archive ?
1) Paglia explains that the term chthonic is used for pre-olympian Greek religion and she adopts it "as a substitute for Dionysian, which has become contaminated with vulgar pleasantries".
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent like chthonic water beast (as its name evinces) that possessed many heads and for each head cut off it grew two more and poisonous breath so virulent even her tracks were deadly.
It is akin to the mythic paradigm of the dreadful journey of Ogun, the mythic protagonist of Yoruba tragedy who, as described by Nobel Prize laureate, Wole Soyinka in his essay, "The Fourth Stage," stared down into the vast abyss of transitional essence where the chthonic forces threatened to destroy him, yet "plunges straight into the chthonic realm, the seething cauldron of the dark world will and psyche, the transitional yet inchoate matrix of death and becoming.
themselves chthonic products to be used in acts of architectonic
The forest is a site of negotiation between their roles as wives/lovers--their identities in a masculinized world--and their mythical origins in the earth as daughters of chthonic female deities.
Each of these gods--at least to some degree--was perceived as a ruler of human destiny in addition to having chthonic attributes.
ancient, chthonic deities and the place where men's souls were
The dimly lit hallway, the trash compactor's groan, the whirrs and creaks coming from Ozzie the superintendent's office (enough to make you suspect someone was there, but not enough to let you know who it was)--all this housed some unseen menace, a boogeyman or deadly chthonic figure, ready to introduce me to the other city I lived in.
The descent down the ramp gives it a chthonic quality, an idea of sinking into the city's industrial archaeology.
My analysis considers Salduena's implicit schema for anger, which bifurcates into two categories: chthonic anger that rages beyond boundaries to taint what it touches, and righteous anger employed appropriately against an enemy.
6) One limitation of the flaneur as a contemporary critical lens is its seductive (and very Benjaminian) split between good nostalgia and bad futurism, a valuation that cannot but demonize change and fetishize stasis, whereas any theory of urban culture that wants to escape the pull of Benjamin's melancholy despair will need to recognize the qualities embedded dialectically within the impulse for preservation and the impulse for development, not to mention the more chthonic elements of the urban experience excluded by both.
She does, however, explain that Ungit is "a chthonic, or earth, goddess," and she unpacks the fertility symbolism of Ungit's egg-shaped temple--naturally, the priest who emerges from the egg wears a bird mask, perhaps to parallel the winged Cupid hatching from the cosmic egg in a Greek creation story--but Myers does not connect this symbolism to any major plot details or characterizations (Bareface 207-09).