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

Putting him as the fulcrum of the offense could be courting chaos. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Is Heat roster not as locked in as it appears?," 4 Sep. 2019 Space missions exploit chaos to save expensive fuel. Wired, "Uncertainty Isn't Always a Problem—It Can Be the Solution," 3 Sep. 2019 The room erupts into chaos around the father and son, who have no idea what has happened; only viewers know what history has in store for them. Nina Li Coomes, The Atlantic, "The Uneven Historical Horror of The Terror: Infamy," 2 Sep. 2019 From a surge in racist attacks to anger over food shortages and chaos at the border, some risk experts are warning that Britain’s potential exit from the European Union without a deal could lead to violence and unrest. NBC News, "Brexit: Risk experts fear violent consequences of a no-deal E. U. withdrawal," 1 Sep. 2019 That chaos was inflicted on the enemy, beginning with the Iraqi army in the first Gulf War, which is where Martin first met Mattis on the eve of battle in 1990. CBS News, "Gen. Jim Mattis on war and Trump," 1 Sep. 2019 The shootings sent the two neighboring west Texas cities into chaos as police hunted for the gunman. Sanya Mansoor, Time, "7 People Killed, 22 Injured in Odessa Mass Shooting. Here’s What We Know So Far," 1 Sep. 2019 The atmosphere is controlled chaos with a side of sassy humor. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin 'breakfast clubs' are like supper clubs, but with pancakes and hash browns instead of steak and relish trays," 30 Aug. 2019 Giving the Astros any assistance is asking for chaos. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros take down Blue Jays in series opener," 30 Aug. 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

7 Sep 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



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

Comments on chaos

What made you want to look up chaos? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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