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n. pl. chi·as·mi (-mī′)
A rhetorical inversion of the second of two parallel structures, as in "Each throat / Was parched, and glazed each eye" (Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

[New Latin chīasmus, from Greek khīasmos, syntactic inversion, from khīazein, to invert or mark with an X; see chiasma.]


n, pl -mi (-maɪ)
(Rhetoric) rhetoric reversal of the order of words in the second of two parallel phrases: he came in triumph and in defeat departs.
[C19: from New Latin, from Greek khiasmos crisscross arrangement; see chiasma]
chiastic adj


(kaɪˈæz məs)

n., pl. -mi (-mī).
a reversal in the order of words in two parallel phrases, as in “He went in, out went she.”
[1870–75; < Greek chiasmós; see chiasma]
chi•as′tic (-ˈæs tɪk) adj.


a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases, as “flowers are lovely, love is flowerlike” (Coleridge). — chiastic, adj.
See also: Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices


The reversal in a second parallel phrase of the order of words in an initial phrase.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.chiasmus - inversion in the second of two parallel phrases
rhetorical device - a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
References in periodicals archive ?
From ancient Sanskrit to this very moment, chiasmi have been employed to inspire, insult, seduce, teach, and provoke.
But such chiasmi appear to be a perfunctory, knee-jerk writing habit rather than an indication of deep intellectual thought.
For further discussion of Merleau-Ponty's interpretation see my "On the Withdrawal of the Beautiful: Adorno and Merleau-Ponty's Readings of Paul Klee," Chiasmi International (2003): 5.