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chiasmus

[ kahy-az-muhs ]
/ kaɪˈæz məs /
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noun, plural chi·as·mi [kahy-az-mahy]. /kaɪˈæz maɪ/. Rhetoric.

a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases, as in “He went to the country, to the town went she.”

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Origin of chiasmus

1870–75; <Greek chiasmós, equivalent to chichi1 + -asmos masculine noun suffix, akin to -asma;see chiasma
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
  • There is chiasmus here, since privata is contrasted with honoratis and quieta with claris.

    Cato Maior de Senectute|Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • For the more complicated forms of chiasmus consult Ngelsbach, Stil.

    Cato Maior de Senectute|Marcus Tullius Cicero

British Dictionary definitions for chiasmus

chiasmus
/ (kaɪˈæzməs) /

noun plural -mi (-maɪ)

rhetoric reversal of the order of words in the second of two parallel phraseshe came in triumph and in defeat departs
chiastic (kaɪˈæstɪk), adjective
C19: from New Latin, from Greek khiasmos crisscross arrangement; see chiasma
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
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