chi·​as·​mus | \ kī-ˈaz-məs How to pronounce chiasmus (audio) , kē- \

Definition of chiasmus

: an inverted relationship between the syntactic elements of parallel phrases (as in Goldsmith's to stop too fearful, and too faint to go)

Examples of chiasmus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Third, there are several instances of chiasmus, an A-B-B-A pattern. Sam Bray, Washington Post, 23 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chiasmus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of chiasmus

1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chiasmus

New Latin, from Greek chiasmos, from chiazein to mark with a chi

Learn More About chiasmus

Time Traveler for chiasmus

Time Traveler

The first known use of chiasmus was in 1871

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near chiasmus




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for chiasmus

Cite this Entry

“Chiasmus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!