chiasmus

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Latin chiasmus, from Ancient Greek χιασμός (khiasmos), from χιάζω (khiazō, to mark with a chi), from χ (chi, chi)

Pronunciation[edit]

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Particularly: "UK"

Noun[edit]

chiasmus (plural chiasmi)

Examples

To stop too fearful, and too faint to go
-- Oliver Goldsmith
haec queritur, stupet haec
(this woman complains, this one gapes)

-- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, 1.124.

  1. (rhetoric) An inversion of the relationship between the elements of phrases.
    • 1934, H. H. Walker & N. W. Lund "The Literary Sturcture of the Book of Habakkuk", Journal of Biblical Literature 53 (4): 355.
      The book of Habakkuk has been discovered to consist of a closely knit chiastic structure throughout. This is the first poem of such length to stand revealed as a literary unit of this kind, though chiasmus has already been discovered throughout many psalms []
    • 1984, Ethel Grodzins Romm, "Persuasive Writing", American Bar Association Journal 70: 158.
      John F. Kennedy is more famous for his chiasmus than for many of his policies:
      "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."
    • 2002, Simon R. Slings, "Figures of Speech in Aristophanes", in Andreas Willi (editor), The Language of Greek Comedy, pages 103-104
      Leeman therefore holds that chiasmus is the basic order in Greek and Latin: antithesis is, he claims, normal for the modern, rational mind, but for the Greeks and Romans chiasmus was more natural.
    • 2009, Seyed Ghahreman Safavi & Simon Weightman, Rūmī's Mystical Design: Reading the Mathnawī, Book One, page 46
      The realization that Mawlānā was using parallelism and chiasmus to organize the higher levels of his work has been a major surprise.

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