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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 ?
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 Semiotics of X: Chiasmus, Cognition, and Extreme Body Memory
The driving idea is traced ultimately to Nils Lunds work on the New Testament (1940) and its resurrection and expansion in the recent work of the late social anthropologist Mary Douglas with her explication of the so-called ring structure and chiasmus in oral composition.
1) This chiasmus mixing the historical and the literary functions less as a conclusion than as an introduction to Schiller's character--more like an opening up than a closing down of Wallenstein's potential guilt and innocence, as Moutoux puts it.
Another guise of the classical is more problematic still: Sometimes in Neue Sachlichkeit, as often in the Purism of Le Corbusier, Amedee Ozenfant, and Fernand Leger, the classical serves to artify machines and commodities, in a chiasmus that updates classicism on the one hand and idealizes modernization on the other.
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.
Speeches in ritual follow 'a performative path' (47), as in a revivalist sermonic outburst, or construct a chiasmus, or criss-crossing of linguistic reciprocation, between two cultures in a ritual-type setting (as in kava drinking).
Oil and Water is the chiasmus of two lives defined by this issue.
A: Chiasmus Q: Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter is an autobiographical work by whom?