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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The reversal in a second parallel phrase of the order of words in an initial phrase.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
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)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
If Zorlu Center, a new-age bazaar which is the chiasmus of high fashion, fine dining and performance art, is the heart of lifestyle in Istanbul, then the Raffles hotel, carved into the multi-use complex, is the center's heartbeat.
Banville reveals a very male literary scene after Yeats and Joyce, although he does stint his praise for the "legends": They "produced precious little, although the little they did produce was precious." Banville can turn a chiasmus, even as he praises faintly.
this tautological exchange is the chiasmus, the "metaphor of
(34) Chiasmus names a rhetorical device in which words, phrases, and structures parallel each other in reverse order.
The first part purports to "disentangle the cultural chiasmus" of Moorish-Christian relations (11), often misconstrued by scholars as a mix of infatuation and imitation of the idealized Moor, per romancero representations, pitted against the expurgation of ethnic otherness through political edicts.
In short, and in the form of a chiasmus (just one of many), Klein tries "to clarify what Lacan's model of subjectivity means for our approaches to music, and what music means for our approaches to Lacan" (p-2).
However, Traub's arrangement of them as a dynamic chiasmus enables her to produce a useful and original argument about the term "lesbian"--one that might resolve a debate about finding lesbian or feminist forebears in history.
AN EQUALLY FAMILIAR PATTERN, AND one that stands antithetical to isocolon is chiasmus. The term comes from the Greek letter "chi" and its name describes its "x" shape.
The Semiotics of X: Chiasmus, Cognition, and Extreme Body Memory
This book is not a summary of that scholarship but rather something of a popularization of many of its conclusions pressed into the service of a study of coherence as exemplified in the Quran through symmetry, chiasmus, and pairing/organization of suras into unified sections or systems of textual and narrative coherence.
Jakobson's chiasmus is undeniably elegant, and the beauty of a clear and simple structural description is in many respects worth striving for in scientific analysis.
Now on to the more, um, normal examples of spoonerisms, transpositions, and chiasmus.