Word for Wednesday: Chaos

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for June is words that derive from Greek mythology. Last week we looked at the word atlas and today’s word is chaos.

The word chaos is used to describe a state of extreme confusion or disorder. 

Here is chaos used in some example sentences: 

  • The performance was utter chaos – no one knew what they were supposed to do! 
  • My bedroom may seem like chaos to you, but I find it a very relaxing space. 
  • The school predicted that the snow would cause chaos on the roads and so decided to close for the day. 

In Greek mythology, the god Chaos personifies the void that preceded the creation of the universe. Today the word is still used to reference the formless and disordered state of matter before the creation of the cosmos.

Chaos has been used in English to describe this ‘void’ since the late-fourteenth century. It comes from Greek ‘khaos’ meaning ‘abyss’ and entered English via Old French and Latin. ‘Khaos’ comes from the ‘khnwos’, from the PIE root ‘ghieh-‘ meaning to ‘yawn’ or ‘gape’. The modern use of the word to mean ‘utter confusion or disorder’ dates to around 1600.

08 Jun 2022
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