cha·​os | \ ˈkā-ˌäs How to pronounce chaos (audio) \

Definition of chaos

1a : a state of utter confusion the blackout caused chaos throughout the city
b : a confused mass or mixture a chaos of television antennas
2a often capitalized : a state of things in which chance is supreme especially : the confused unorganized state of primordial matter before the creation of distinct forms — compare cosmos
b : the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system (such as the atmosphere, boiling water, or the beating heart)
3 obsolete : chasm, abyss

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Examples of chaos in a Sentence

The loss of electricity caused chaos throughout the city. When the police arrived, the street was in total chaos. The country had descended into economic chaos.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But perhaps, more significantly, it is called siddur because the act of prayer offers order to the chaos of our lives. Avital Chizhik-goldschmidt, Vox, "How prayer helped me detox from the internet," 8 July 2019 In the chaos of an ambush against Dallas officers at the end of a July 7, 2016, protest downtown, adrenaline surged through Barrientos’ body as blood poured out of his wounded finger. Dallas News, "For Dallas-area officers coping with trauma after July 7 ambush and other shootings, a focus on mental wellness," 7 July 2019 The atmosphere in the ER that day fell somewhere between the chaos of urgency and the calm steadiness that comes with following protocol, Anderson said. Washington Post, "Doctor says Virginia Beach shooting tested emergency room," 6 July 2019 The setting reflects Burnham’s passion for bringing order to the chaos of city life and for making big plans that bring the world to your doorstep. Blair Kamin,, "Column: Letter from Venice: A precarious paradise, engaged in a longtime dialogue with Chicago," 5 July 2019 The chaos of war prevents domestic governments from enforcing laws against exporting antiquities. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Terrorists are trafficking looted antiquities with impunity on Facebook," 3 July 2019 Sony’s blue-and-gray Walkman from 1979 is a beautiful thing—but had ultimately descended into a bulky chaos of protruding buttons and belt clips. Nikil Saval, The New Yorker, "For Better and Worse, We Live in Jony Ive’s World," 2 July 2019 Part of you fantasizes about slipping into that gap—between the false, righteous public self and the inner chaos of shame, cowardice, bad faith—and vanishing altogether. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "Notes on Cancel Culture," 1 July 2019 Still, our desire to humanize the cosmos, to find meaning in the chaos of the stars, seems to be permanent. Adam Kirsch, WSJ, "Our Quest for Meaning in the Heavens," 28 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chaos.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chaos

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for chaos

Latin, from Greek — more at gum

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Statistics for chaos

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chaos

The first known use of chaos was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of chaos

: complete confusion and disorder : a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything
: the state of the universe before there was any order and before stars and planets were formed


cha·​os | \ ˈkā-ˌäs How to pronounce chaos (audio) \

Kids Definition of chaos

: complete confusion and disorder

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More from Merriam-Webster on chaos

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chaos

Spanish Central: Translation of chaos

Nglish: Translation of chaos for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chaos for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about chaos

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