cha·​os ˈkā-ˌäs How to pronounce chaos (audio)
: a state of utter confusion
the blackout caused chaos throughout the city
: a confused mass or mixture
a chaos of television antennas
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
: the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system (such as the atmosphere, boiling water, or the beating heart)
obsolete : chasm, abyss

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The new transitional presidential council, once formalized, will be tasked with helping Haiti forge a path out of the chaos and onto elections by appointing a new prime minister and government. Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, 12 Apr. 2024 Trump’s orbit isn’t happy with Greene -- a long-vocal Trump supporter -- and her threat to throw the House GOP into chaos again with another speakership battle, Politico's Rachael Bade, also an ABC News political contributor, reported. Sarah Beth Hensley, ABC News, 12 Apr. 2024 The former president emboldened conservative opposition to Johnson’s plan to reauthorize a controversial spying law on Wednesday, plunging the House into chaos after those far-right members used procedural tactics to freeze the lower chamber to protest the speakers’ agenda. USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2024 From Kyiv to Jerusalem to back home in Washington, D.C., wars and monumental elections risk throwing the carefully balanced economic climate back into chaos. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 11 Apr. 2024 On the way, her group comes across various tableaus of chaos, social disorder, and bone-rattling combat, observing and documenting—but not intervening, despite the crisis that’s unfolding. David Sims, The Atlantic, 8 Apr. 2024 Turkish football has been engulfed in chaos recently with several high-profile incidents. Sammy Mncwabe, CNN, 8 Apr. 2024 Since 1979, the country has viewed chaos and volatility, whether at home or nearby, as an opportunity to advance its interests and influence. Suzanne Maloney, Foreign Affairs, 8 Apr. 2024 Moments after the fatal shooting Thursday of a teenager on a Metro platform in Northeast Washington, D.C. police officers at a new command center four miles away were watching the chaos unfold on their computers. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chaos.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, from Greek — more at gum

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near chaos

Cite this Entry

“Chaos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


cha·​os ˈkā-ˌäs How to pronounce chaos (audio)
: complete confusion
chaotic adjective
chaotically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on chaos

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!