Chthonian ("THO-nee-uhn") adj.

One of the more interesting Internet sites is Word-Of-The-Day, a combination of mailing list and Web site that sends out, every day, a new word to ponder, complete with definitions and classic quotes. An early 1997 entry was chthonian, from the Greek word for "of the earth." One example of its use was offered through this quote:

"The chthonian superflux of emotion is a male problem. A man must do battle with that enormity, which resides in woman and nature."

-- Camille Paglia, "Sexual Personae"

The Word-Of-The-Day editor then added this:


Ms. Paglia's somewhat extravagant rhetoric, and frequent use of today's word, has become the subject of a widely circulated joke on the internet:

"Question: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Camille Paglia: It was drawn by the subconscious chthonian power of the feminine which men can never understand, to cross the road and focus itself on its task. Hens are not capable of doing this--their minds do not work that way."


You can find Word-Of-The-Day at:
http://www.parlez.com/word-of-the-day/

Return to Infrequently Asked Questions
Washington Apple Pi IFAQ