latin word for the swerve of atoms, or an inclination/bias

Clinamen is the word Lucretius gave to the unpredictable swerve of atoms. He means that these atoms don't just fall down, but because of the swerve collisions happen.[1] Lucretius wrote that without this slight swerve (atoms) would "fall like raindrops and never touch and the world would have never been made".[1] Lucretius was the first to write about Chaos theory.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Titus Lucretius Carus; William Augustus Merrill, Lucretius De Rerum Natura (New York; Cincinnati: American Book Co., 1907), p. 414
  2. Gombrowicz's Grimaces: Modernism, Gender, Nationality, ed. Ewa Płonowska Ziarek (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), p. 90