[kaz-uh m]


a yawning fissure or deep cleft in the earth's surface; gorge.
a breach or wide fissure in a wall or other structure.
a marked interruption of continuity; gap: a chasm in time.
a sundering breach in relations, as a divergence of opinions, beliefs, etc., between persons or groups.

Origin of chasm

1590–1600; apocopated variant of chasma < Latin < Greek, equivalent to cha- (root of chaínein to gape; see yawn) + -(a)sma resultative suffix
Related formschas·mal, chas·mic, adjectivechasmed, adjectivechasm·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chasm

Contemporary Examples of chasm

Historical Examples of chasm

  • I ought, of course, to fling myself into the chasm like that Roman fellow; but, hang it!

  • Cautiously he drew back, still looking about for some means to cross the chasm.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • The wind hurled them into a chasm, 117 and their bodies were never recovered.

  • When he reached the opening he dropped flat with his head over the chasm.

    The Web of the Golden Spider

    Frederick Orin Bartlett

  • Tanner could not bridge the chasm between himself and his daughter.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

British Dictionary definitions for chasm



a deep cleft in the ground; abyss
a break in continuity; gap
a wide difference in interests, feelings, etc
Derived Formschasmal (ˈkæzməl) or chasmic, adjective

Word Origin for chasm

C17: from Latin chasma, from Greek khasma; related to Greek khainein to gape
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chasm

1590s, "deep crack in the earth," from Latin chasma, from Greek khasma "yawning hollow, gulf," related to khaskein "to yawn," and thus to chaos. In English in 17c. often spelled chasma. Figurative use from 1640s. Related: Chasmal; chasmic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper