Chiasmus is a figure of speech containing two phrases that are parallel but inverted to each other.

You can take the patriot out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the patriot.

15 thoughts on “Chiasmus”

  1. Would “George is careful. He won’t get hurt. He ain’t never been hurt, ’cause he’s careful” Be considered to use Chiasmus or more the use of repetition/anaphora/ epistrophe?
    I mean I realize the word’s phrasing isn’t nessesarily switched but would it still be Chiasmus and if the phrases were spread apart with sentences in between would it also still count as Chiasmus?

  2. Would Chiasmus apply to Amanda Gorman’s “New Day’s Lyric” with her wordplay (“battered, we come to better” or Torn, we come to tend”) or is this simply alliteration?

  3. Describing Mr. Gore in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the author writes “He was just the man for such a place, and it was just the place for such a man.”

  4. Would Iago’s ‘We cannot all be masters, nor all masters cannot be truly followed’ an example of chiasmus as well?

  5. in the quote “…he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” would the switch of “falling faintly” and “faintly falling” be chiasmus?

      1. In my opinion, not quite. The meaning and focus of the phrases do not invert; ‘falling faintly’ refers to the snow’s sound whilst ‘faintly falling’ refers to the snow’s motion – a downward motion.

        Another indicator is in the wording, in the first phrase, snow and universe appears but doesn’t reappear in the second. Likewise, there is no mention of the living/dead in the *first* part.

        Compare with the bottom two examples – size-man-fight and animal-wild.

        Here’s two examples:
        I wanted to change my life, but life changed me.
        Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

  6. Is this Chiasmus
    It’s not the size of the man in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the man.

  7. Here’s a good one for animals!
    You can take the animal out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the animal.

    Basically meaning that no matter how much we domesticate animals, they will always have their primal instincts.

      1. Wilderness is a noun, not an adjective! I think you are objecting to the previous posts because “wild” is an adjective, but in the example “…you can’t take the wild out of the animal,” wild is being used as a noun.

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