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, "Translating Genesis: figures of speech," 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

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Time Traveler for chiasmus

Time Traveler

The first known use of chiasmus was in 1871

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Cite this Entry

“Chiasmus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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