- a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.
- any confused, disorderly mass: a chaos of meaningless phrases.
- the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe.
- (initial capital letter) the personification of this in any of several ancient Greek myths.
- Obsolete. a chasm or abyss.
Origin of chaos
SynonymsSee more synonyms for chaos on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for chaos
He needed his art because, offstage, the chaos was sometimes too much.How Richard Pryor Beat Bill Cosby and Transformed America
David Yaffe, Scott Saul
December 10, 2014
The excitement of the event and everything else was just chaos, so you're suddenly like: 'Actually it's a boy in the end.'Kate Middleton and Prince William's $2m Dinner
December 8, 2014
Perhaps, as one cardinal recently complained, the chaos is the plan.Is Pope Francis Backpedaling on Gays?
November 19, 2014
Meanwhile, their Missouri hometown appears to be on the brink of chaos.Riot Prep Could Fuel Ferguson Violence
November 13, 2014
Sectarian strife now empowers the civil wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and Al Qaedaism flourishes in the chaos.Why’s Al Qaeda So Strong? Washington Has (Literally) No idea
November 9, 2014
My health, which had ever been feeble, was endangered by this state of chaos.My Double Life
Here was a splendid end to chaos and blind wrestling with life.
There all had been matter and chaos, here all was mind and a will to find a way out of confusion.
He dared not stir, for all the world seemed to be dissolving into chaos.
A maid was there, and the furniture might have stood as a type of chaos.The First Violin
- complete disorder; utter confusion
- (usually capital) the disordered formless matter supposed to have existed before the ordered universe
- an obsolete word for abyss
Word Origin and History for chaos
late 14c., "gaping void," from Old French chaos (14c.) or directly from Latin chaos, from Greek khaos "abyss, that which gapes wide open, is vast and empty," from *khnwos, from PIE root *gheu- "to gape, yawn" (cf. Greek khaino "I yawn," Old English ginian, Old Norse ginnunga-gap; see yawn (v.)).
Meaning "utter confusion" (c.1600) is extended from theological use of chaos for "the void at the beginning of creation" in Vulgate version of Genesis (1530s in English). The Greek for "disorder" was tarakhe, however the use of chaos here was rooted in Hesiod ("Theogony"), who describes khaos as the primeval emptiness of the Universe, begetter of Erebus and Nyx ("Night"), and in Ovid ("Metamorphoses"), who opposes Khaos to Kosmos, "the ordered Universe." Meaning "orderless confusion" in human affairs is from c.1600. Chaos theory in the modern mathematical sense is attested from c.1977.
- The behavior of systems that follow deterministic laws but appear random and unpredictable. Chaotic systems very are sensitive to initial conditions; small changes in those conditions can lead to quite different outcomes. One example of chaotic behavior is the flow of air in conditions of turbulence. See more at fractal.