Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A condition or place of great disorder or confusion.
  • n. A disorderly mass; a jumble: The desk was a chaos of papers and unopened letters.
  • n. The disordered state of unformed matter and infinite space supposed in some cosmogonic views to have existed before the ordered universe.
  • n. Mathematics A dynamical system that has a sensitive dependence on its initial conditions.
  • n. Obsolete An abyss; a chasm.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A vast chasm or abyss.
  • n. The unordered state of matter in classical accounts of cosmogony
  • n. Any state of disorder, any confused or amorphous mixture or conglomeration.
  • n. A given medium; a space in which something exists or lives; an environment.
  • n. Behaviour of iterative non-linear systems in which arbitrarily small variations in initial conditions become magnified over time.
  • n. One of the two metaphysical forces of the world in some fantasy settings, as opposed to law.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An empty, immeasurable space; a yawning chasm.
  • n. The confused, unorganized condition or mass of matter before the creation of distinct and orderly forms.
  • n. Any confused or disordered collection or state of things; a confused mixture; confusion; disorder.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vacant space or chasm; empty, immeasurable space.
  • n. The confused or formless elementary state, not fully existing, in which the universe is supposed to have been latent before the order, uniformities, or laws of nature had been developed or created: the opposite of cosmos.
  • n. A confused mixture of parts or elements; confusion; disorder.
  • n. In the language of the alchemists, the atmosphere: first so used by Paracelsus.
  • n. [capitalized] The void of unformed matter personified and deemed by some among the Greeks as the oldest of the gods.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Greek mythology) the most ancient of gods; the personification of the infinity of space preceding creation of the universe
  • n. the formless and disordered state of matter before the creation of the cosmos
  • n. a state of extreme confusion and disorder
  • n. (physics) a dynamical system that is extremely sensitive to its initial conditions

Etymologies

Middle English, formless primordial space, from Latin, from Greek khaos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowed from Ancient Greek χάος (khaos, "vast chasm, void") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Some of the early investigators of chaos were the American physicist Mitchell Feigenbaum; the Polish-born mathematician and inventor of fractals see fractal geometry Benoit Mandelbrot; the American mathematician James Yorke, who popularized the term “chaos”; and the American meteorologist Edward Lorenz.

    Exponential Growth in Physical Systems #2 « Climate Audit

  • I hope that the chaos is abating on schedule today!

    It Gets Worse « Tales from the Reading Room

  • I love San Diego as a city, but it simply can no longer handle this event, and this nearly insignificant expansion isn't going to change anything. agonist yeah, the lines suck but the chaos is also kindof exciting. you have to be a hardcore fan to get into some of the panels and that in itself is like a geeky badge of coolness.

    San Diego Convention Center Plans $753 million Expansion in Bid to Keep Comic-Con | /Film

  • Hiroshi believes that although very chaotic with a ‘mess’ of cables, this chaos is also beautiful.

    Wallpaper by Vincent Olm

  • He thinks of it as planet Earth and that Earth is this spaceship, carrying us through what he calls the chaos of space into safety.

    Brooklyn, Iceland And Outer Space: New Classical CDs

  • As readers, we know the chaos is there because the existence of the characters implies it, however, we're not forced to try to take it all in.

    Sharpe's People

  • Did you know that the word child comes from the same root as the word chaos?

    Enough Already

  • Plus, one California mayor will tell us his plan for fixing what he calls the chaos now masquerading as a border.

    CNN Transcript Jun 1, 2005

  • This follows an advisory panel report yesterday from former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, a devastating indictment of what he calls the chaos that raged at the prison.

    CNN Transcript Aug 25, 2004

  • Eastern Cape social development MEC Neo Moerane-Mamase over what it described as chaos at pension pay points in the province.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

Comments

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  • Chaos in Singapore.

    January 11, 2010

  • The Chaos and The Chaos

    August 12, 2009


  • I am not tired or sad
    I see whiteness, towers of chaos
    I touch the ink, my palms a paradise of speech.

    - Qassim Haddad, 'Space'.

    September 16, 2008

  • winner of the contest held sepcifically for youths.
    In the justification given, it is mentioned that 'chaos' means as much as a' void' - definitely not what I think when I see my room...

    April 26, 2008

  • An entirely separate concept from anarchy. Best illustrated, perhaps, by Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park. See also butterfly effect.

    December 26, 2006