[stij-ee-uh n]


of or relating to the river Styx or to Hades.
dark or gloomy.
infernal; hellish.

Also styg·i·an (for defs 2, 3).

Origin of Stygian

1560–70; < Latin Stygi(us) < Greek Stýgios (Styg-, stem of Stýx Styx + -ios adj. suffix) + -an
Related formstrans-Styg·i·an, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stygian

Historical Examples of stygian

  • Justus Miles was the first to come to, and he found himself in Stygian blackness.

    The Heads of Apex

    Francis Flagg

  • She appealed by a gesture to Heaven against the Stygian darkness of my mind.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • They snapped off their torches and crouched in Stygian darkness.

  • It was not the sort of night we know on earth, but a Stygian blackness.

    The Fire People

    Ray Cummings

  • The Stygian darkness of his hiatus refused to lift by questioning.

    Desert Conquest

    A. M. Chisholm

British Dictionary definitions for stygian



of or relating to the river Styx
mainly literary
  1. dark, gloomy, or hellish
  2. completely inviolable, as a vow sworn by the river Styx

Word Origin for Stygian

C16: from Latin Stygius, from Greek Stugios, from Stux Styx; related to stugein to hate
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 stygian


"pertaining to Styx or the nether world," 1560s, from Latin Stygius, from Greek Stygios, from Styx (genitive Stygos); see Styx.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper