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The chiasm ( latinisiert of ancient Greek χιασμός chiasmós "cross diagonal arrangement, arrangement crosswise" to χίασμα chiasm "shape of the Chi [ Χ ], wooden cross", in the Modern Greek terminology το χιαστό ) is a figure of speech , wherein said set of links and subsets (Subject [S], predicate [P], object [O]) are usually arranged crosswise in opposite directions in otherwise parallel (partial) sentences according to the SPO-OPS scheme.


"The world is big, the mind is small."

"Oh God! The art is long / And our life is short. "

"The stake was big, the profit was small."

"The world is narrow and the brain is wide."

"The weapon of criticism, however, cannot replace the criticism of weapons."

"I sleep during the day, I wake up at night."

The chiasmus is used in particular to highlight antitheses , but can of course also be used independently of this in order to make certain formulations particularly memorable or concise.

A special case of chiasm is the epanodos , in which the crossed words are repeated. The chiasmus is often used in Latin: temporibus antiquis - novisque moribus (old times - new customs). This is probably due to the fact that a chiasmus can be formed more easily in Latin due to the many possibilities of word order.

The logical opposite of chiasmus is synchysis (connected word sequence).

The antimetabolic can be seen as a special case of chiasmus.

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