What is chiasmus?

Chiasmus is a statement (or question) formed by reversing the parts of a sentence.

Most people don’t know the meaning of the word ‘chiasmus’, but know several famous examples.

Creating chiasmus

To create chiasmus, one needs:
1. make a sentence
2. repeat the sentence, but with parts reversed


We’re good for each other, but others are good for us.When you possess anger, anger possesses you.
Life breeds happiness, and happiness breeds life.

Famous examples

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

– John F. Kennedy
Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders, or God one of man’s blunders?

– Frederich Nietzsche
One should eat to live, not live to eat.

– Cicero
I’d rather be looked over
than overlooked.

– Mae West
Winners never quit, and quitters never win.

– Vince Lombardi