Wednesday, March 01, 2017

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Chthonic, with or without supreme pain for the tyrant.

It's another mind-expanding installment of SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

Around this time each week, petulant wails of angst and apprehension can be heard seeping out of the Gahan command bunker's down-low ventilation ducts.

Stop it, Roger. JUST STOP! Why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words -- you know, like the ones from back in the glory days, when we were innocent and free ... long before a gathering storm of bad taste and naked greed came crashing through like a bond-issue-percentage speedball and feeling oh so fine, and now, as the masked Great Elongated and Exasperated Obfuscator of comic book series fame (can a Disney World sinecure be far behind?) you teach detailed principles of banking to actual bankers, at least when not otherwise occupied making healthy deposits into your own burgeoning account?

Thankfully, even if one toils for the Invincible and Triumphant Father of the City, a healthy vocabulary isn't about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it's about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one's pay grade or station in life.

Even municipal corporate attorneys reaping handsome remuneration to suppress information, squelch community dialogue and flee the council chamber before being forced to endure dissenting words uttered by grubby martini-swilling constituents, can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate TIFs, CPIs, IUDs and IOUs, all we really have is time -- and the opportunity to learn something, if we're so inclined.

To introduce today's word, here is Chthonic, "a Taipei-based melodic death metal sextet blending traditional Taiwanese music into their furious sound."

The song is called Supreme Pain for the Tyrant, and while the band is from Taiwan, the concept behind the group's name is ancient Greek to us and them.

Noting that American English apparently supports a pronunciation of thon-ic, while British English opts for k-sonic, this week Merriam-Webster gets the nod.

Chthonic might seem a lofty and learned word, but it's actually pretty down-to-earth in its origin and meaning. It comes from "chthōn, "which means "earth" in Greek, and it is associated with things that dwell in or under the earth. It is most commonly used in discussions of mythology, particularly underworld mythology. Hades and Persephone, who reign over the underworld in Greek mythology, might be called "chthonic deities," for example. "Chthonic" has broader applications, too. It can be used to describe something that resembles a mythological underworld (e.g.,"chthonic darkness"), and it is sometimes used to describe earthly or natural things (as opposed to those that are elevated or celestial).

A command bunker is a chthonian concept, is it not?

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