chaos

noun
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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Other Words from chaos

chaotic \ kā-​ˈä-​tik How to pronounce chaotic (audio) \ adjective
chaotically \ kā-​ˈä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce chaotically (audio) \ adverb

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

Burn This offers a chance to see Driver’s Pale span from comic chaos to violent threat, from bluster to paralyzing sensitivity. Jason Zinoman, Vogue, "In Burn This, Adam Driver and Keri Russell Find Love in a Hopeless Place," 15 Apr. 2019 Many Britons feel a mix of frustration, fascination and shame at the ongoing political chaos. Jill Lawless, The Seattle Times, "Shame, sadness in UK as Brexit reveals Parliament’s flaws," 14 Apr. 2019 Eventually, Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew and adopted heir, would rise from the chaos as Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "So, What Exactly Are the Ides of March?," 15 Mar. 2019 And as Heindorff stated at the recent press conference, the two have been in touch to ensure a smooth transition despite the current chaos in Wilson’s life. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Cody Wilson was Defense Distributed—so who is the organization’s new leader?," 6 Oct. 2018 One memorable moment at the 2015 event: As the President read Where the Wild Things Are to a crowd of children, bees descended, sending the kids into shrieking chaos and leaving Obama to try to convince them that the bees wouldn't hurt them. Jillian Mackenzie, Town & Country, "A Brief History of the White House Easter Egg Roll," 28 Feb. 2019 In late January, staffing shortages at major airports caused chaos and flight cancellations on the east coast. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Belgium Cancels All Flights For 24 Hours as Air Traffic Controllers Strike," 13 Feb. 2019 In the first half of the 20th century, German-speaking Europe experienced world wars, economic chaos and the rise of Nazism. Peter Saenger, WSJ, "Role Playing on Canvas," 1 Feb. 2019 This new report by FEMA offers details about the chaos and confusion of those first days and weeks after Maria hit the island. Arelis R. Hernandez And Joel Achenbach, chicagotribune.com, "Failure of imagination hindered federal response to hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico," 14 July 2018

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

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chaos

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

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More Definitions for chaos

chaos

noun

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

chaos

noun
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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chaos

Comments on chaos

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