chaotic

adjective cha·ot·ic \ kā-ˈä-tik \

Definition of chaotic

1 : marked by chaos or being in a state of chaos : completely confused or disordered
  • a chaotic political race
  • After he became famous, his life became even more chaotic.
  • They may look chaotic and barbaric, but scrums are a critical and strategic part of the game, and they unfold and escalate according to hockey's venerated, unwritten rules of engagement.
  • —David Fleming
  • To the uninitiated visitor, the seemingly chaotic energy of a typical Thai market may give the impression of a free-for-all, …
  • —Diane Ruengsom
2 mathematics : having outcomes that can vary widely due to extremely small changes in initial conditions
  • In other words, what comes out of the program's equations is extremely sensitive to what goes in. And that, as any mathematician would recognize, is one of the hallmarks of chaotic systems.
  • —Ingrid Wickelgren
  • A physical system—a weather system, say—is chaotic if a very slight change in initial conditions sends the system off on a very different course.
  • Physics Today

chaotically

play \kā-ˈä-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
    • a chaotically busy scene

First Known Use of chaotic

1688

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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CHAOTIC Defined for Kids

chaotic

adjective cha·ot·ic \ kā-ˈä-tik \

Definition of chaotic for Students

: in a state of or characterized by complete confusion and disorder
  • Everyone descended on the table in a chaotic flurry, knocking over glasses and sending forks onto the floor …
  • —Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons


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subject to rapid or unexpected change

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