cha·​ot·​ic | \ kā-ˈä-tik How to pronounce chaotic (audio) \

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

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Other Words from chaotic

chaotically \ kā-​ˈä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce chaotic (audio) \ adverb
a chaotically busy scene

First Known Use of chaotic

1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for chaotic

Time Traveler

The first known use of chaotic was in 1688

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Dictionary Entries Near chaotic

chaos theory



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Cite this Entry

“Chaotic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of chaotic

: in a state of complete confusion or disorder


cha·​ot·​ic | \ kā-ˈä-tik \

Kids Definition of chaotic

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on chaotic

Nglish: Translation of chaotic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chaotic for Arabic Speakers


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