A rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or a modified form; e.g. ‘Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.’.‘One such description occurs in the opening lines of the poem as Milton joins two rhetorical devices, chiasmus and paradox, to declare his subject.’
- ‘Ovid's chiasmus is a rhetorical picture of the lovers being pulled apart.’
- ‘An analysis of this speech reveals that the student used varied repetition strategies, including anaphora, antithesis, chiasmus, and parallelism.’
- ‘The chiasmus points to how the questions function as quasi-incantations rather than genuine queries needing answers.’
- ‘He or she may have heard of alliteration, onomatopoeia, metonymy, synecdoche, and chiasmus.’
- ‘This is one of the better examples of Dowdian wordplay, as the throwaway ‘or vice versa’ cleverly suggests an absurd chiasmus.’
Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘crosswise arrangement’): modern Latin, from Greek khiasmos, from khiazein ‘mark with the letter chi’, from khi ‘chi’.