From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Today, the term refers to any state of disorder, any confused or amorphous mixture or conglomeration.
Chaos features three main characteristics:
- it is a bottomless gulf where anything falls endlessly. This radically contrasts with the Earth that emerges from it to offer a stable ground.
- it is a place without any possible orientation, where anything falls in every direction.
- it is a space that separates, that divides: after the Earth and the Sky parted, Chaos remains between both of them.
Borrowed from Ancient Greek χάος (vast chasm, void).
Chaos is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root ghn or ghen meaning "gape, be wide open": compare "chasm" (from Greek, and Anglo-Saxon gānian ("yawn"), geanian, ginian ("gape wide"); see also Old Norse Ginnungagap. Due to people misunderstanding early Christian uses of the word, the meaning of the word changed to "disorder". (The Ancient Greek for "disorder" is ταραχή.).
In Early Modern English used in the sense of the original Greek word. In the meaning primordial matter from the 16th century. Figurative usage in the sense "confusion, disorder" from the 17th century. The technical sense in mathematics and science dates to the 1960s.
Chaos (Greek khaos) refers to the formless or void state of primordial matter preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in creation myths, particularly Greek but also in related religions of the Ancient Near East.
- Chaos magic
- Chaos (mythology)
- Chaos theory
- Chaos theory
- Butterfly effect
- Empty space
- Horror vacui