1. A condition or place of great disorder or confusion.
2. A disorderly mass; a jumble: The desk was a chaos of papers and unopened letters.
3. often Chaos The disordered state of unformed matter and infinite space supposed in some cosmogonic views to have existed before the ordered universe.
4. Chaos theory.
5. Mathematics A dynamical system that has a sensitive dependence on its initial conditions.
6. Obsolete An abyss; a chasm.
[Middle English, formless primordial space, from Latin, from Greek khaos.]
cha·otic (-ŏtĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.