Definition of chiasmus in English:

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Pronunciation: /kīˈazməs/


A rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or a modified form; e.g. ‘Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.’.
Example sentences
  • One such description occurs in the opening lines of the poem as Milton joins two rhetorical devices, chiasmus and paradox, to declare his subject.
  • Ovid's chiasmus is a rhetorical picture of the lovers being pulled apart.
  • An analysis of this speech reveals that the student used varied repetition strategies, including anaphora, antithesis, chiasmus, and parallelism.



Pronunciation: /kīˈastik/
Example sentences
  • A series of chiastic inversions mark the last three lines.
  • Rather, there is a chiastic relationship between Pascal and Goethe.
  • It would appear that verses 1-11 of Zechariah 14 are expressed as a chiastic structure with verses 6 and 7 being the turning point.


Mid 17th century (in the general sense 'crosswise arrangement'): modern Latin, from Greek khiasmos 'crosswise arrangement', from khiazein 'mark with the letter chi', from khi 'chi'.

Words that rhyme with chiasmus


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: chi·as·mus

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