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 Yet Shanghai's biggest international airport momentarily descended into chaos Sunday night after authorities ordered a mass testing drive in response to a small outbreak of Covid-19 linked to several cargo handlers. Tara John, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Monday, November 23," 23 Nov. 2020 The game’s biggest draw was a storyline which unfolded over multiple play sessions, with diseases mutating and cities falling into chaos as a sinister conspiracy spread its tendrils across the world. Owen Duffy, Ars Technica, "One hell of a send-off: Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 wraps a stylish board game series," 21 Nov. 2020 Everyone's world was thrown into chaos, and golf was hardly spared. Paul Newberry, Star Tribune, "Column: A Masters unlike any other — and one we didn't need," 11 Nov. 2020 While many remained peaceful, several devolved into chaos, with arsons and burglaries occurring, among other property damage. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, "Nearly 9 in 10 LAPD officers felt unsupported by Moore after summer protests, survey finds," 9 Nov. 2020 Amid screams and smoke, a man in a tie-dye T-shirt pulled an officer to the ground and punched him in the face, before disappearing into the chaos, according to charging documents. Washington Post, "Facial recognition used to identify Lafayette Square protester accused of assault," 2 Nov. 2020 Proponents of the Electoral College argue that the system allows states to check the power of the national government and averts the possibility of nationwide recounts that could throw elections into chaos. National Geographic, "Here’s why the Electoral College exists—and how it could be reformed," 16 Oct. 2020 The number of deaths is still well short of the spring level, but German pandemic policy has descended into chaos anyway. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Europe’s New Covid Wave," 16 Oct. 2020 Kyrgyzstan, a country of 6.5 million people located on the border with China, was plunged into chaos following an Oct. 4 vote that election officials say was swept by pro-government parties. Fox News, "Kyrgyzstan's president steps down amid political unrest," 15 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for chaos

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for chaos

Last Updated

29 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chaos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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How to pronounce chaos (audio)

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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