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

Example Sentences

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 But now, though still an outside possibility, a little more chaos paired with Alabama wins over Ole Miss, Austin Peay and Auburn have the Tide back in the conversation. Michael Casagrande |, al, 26 Nov. 2022 The Margate Fair turned into a scene of gunshots, fighting and chaos Thursday night, leading police to order the fair shut down early. David Fleshler, Sun Sentinel, 25 Nov. 2022 Nation/World Before Election Day, anxiety mounted over potential chaos at the polls. Nicholas Riccardi, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Nov. 2022 Before Election Day, anxiety mounted over potential chaos at the polls. Nicholas Riccardi,, 25 Nov. 2022 Before Election Day, anxiety mounted over potential chaos at the polls. Nicholas Riccardi, ajc, 25 Nov. 2022 The drama of Elon Musk’s ownership is alluring: Musk recently said that usage of Twitter hit record levels, maybe partly from people gravitating to Twitter to rubberneck at Twitter’s chaos. Shira Ovide, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2022 Fights, tents, swarms of people: Remember Black Friday at peak chaos? Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 24 Nov. 2022 People Wanted alternative social networks long before Elon Musk bought Twitter and went full chaos mode. WIRED, 23 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



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

More from Merriam-Webster on chaos

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