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[thoh-nee-uh n]
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adjective Classical Mythology.
  1. of or relating to the deities, spirits, and other beings dwelling under the earth.
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Also chthon·ic [thon-ik] /ˈθɒn ɪk/.

Origin of chthonian

1840–50; < Greek chthóni(os) (chthon-, stem of chthṓn earth + -ios adj. suffix) + -an; akin to Latin humus earth (see humus)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for chthonic

Historical Examples

  • She was also "a queen over death and the dead," a chthonic characteristic.

    The World of Homer

    Andrew Lang

  • In Classical Greece chthonic worship and hero worship seem on the whole to be more prominent than that of the gods.

    The Heroic Age

    H. Munro Chadwick

British Dictionary definitions for chthonic


chthonic (ˈθɒnɪk)

  1. of or relating to the underworld
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Word Origin

C19: from Greek khthonios in or under the earth, from khthōn earth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chthonic


1882, with suffix -ic, from Greek khthonios "of the earth, in the earth," from khthon "the earth, solid surface of the earth" (mostly poetic) from PIE root *dhghem- (cf. Greek khamai "on the ground," first element in chameleon; also Latin humus "earth, soil," humilis "low;" Lithuanian žeme, Old Church Slavonic zemlja "earth;" Sanskrit ksam- "earth" (opposed to "sky"); Old Irish du, genitive don "place," earlier "earth").

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1804, from Latinized form of Greek khthonios (see chthonic) + -an.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper