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[ki-meer-uh, kahy-] /kɪˈmɪər ə, kaɪ-/
noun, plural chimeras.
(often initial capital letter) a mythological, fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.
any similarly grotesque monster having disparate parts, especially as depicted in decorative art.
a horrible or unreal creature of the imagination; a vain or idle fancy:
He is far different from the chimera your fears have made of him.
Genetics. an organism composed of two or more genetically distinct tissues, as an organism that is partly male and partly female, or an artificially produced individual having tissues of several species.
Origin of chimera
1350-1400; Middle English chimera < Latin chimaera < Greek chímaira she-goat; akin to Old Norse gymbr, English gimmer ewe-lamb one year (i.e., one winter) old, Latin hiems winter (see hiemal), Greek cheimṓn winter
3. dream, fantasy, delusion. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chimeras
  • They are chimeras, composed of odd parts stuck together.
  • chimeras differ from gargoyles in that the latter are rainwater drains.
  • Our cells remain chimeras, a hybrid fusion of unrelated creatures.
  • There are no plans to create human chimeras, a researcher emphasized.
  • Science traffics in the soluble, so for a time these other chimeras warranted our limited exploratory resources.
  • Making chimeras containing proteins from unrelated pathogens is trickier.
  • The chimeras of myth were monsters that combined parts of lion, snake and goat.
  • The one that really freaked me out was the information on chimeras.
British Dictionary definitions for chimeras


/kaɪˈmɪərə; kɪ-/
(often capital) (Greek myth) a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a goat, and tail of a serpent
a fabulous beast made up of parts taken from various animals
a wild and unrealistic dream or notion
(biology) an organism, esp a cultivated plant, consisting of at least two genetically different kinds of tissue as a result of mutation, grafting, etc
Word Origin
C16: from Latin chimaera, from Greek khimaira she-goat, from khimaros he-goat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chimeras



fabulous monster, late 14c., from Old French chimere or directly from Medieval Latin chimera, from Latin Chimaera, from Greek khimaira, name of a mythical creature, slain by Bellerophon, with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail (supposedly personification of snow or winter); literally "year-old she-goat" (masc. khimaros), from kheima "winter season" (see hibernation). Figurative meaning "wild fantasy" first recorded 1580s in English (attested 13c. in French).

Beestis clepid chymeres, that han a part of ech beest, and suche ben not, no but oonly in opynyoun. [Wyclif, "Prologue"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chimeras in Medicine

chimera chi·me·ra (kī-mēr'ə, kĭ-)

  1. One who has received a transplant of genetically and immunologically different tissue.

  2. Twins with two immunologically different types of red blood cells.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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chimeras in Culture
chimera [(keye-meer-uh, ki-meer-uh)]

A monster in classical mythology who had the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a dragon or serpent.

Note: Figuratively, a “chimera” is a creation of the imagination, especially a wild creation.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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