Word of the Day Archive
Monday April 21, 2008
chimera \ky-MIR-uh\ , noun:
1. (Capitalized) A fire-breathing she-monster represented as having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.
2. Any imaginary monster made up of grotesquely incongruous parts.
3. An illusion or mental fabrication; a grotesque product of the imagination.
4. An individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution, produced as a result of organ transplant, grafting, or genetic engineering.
Asa Whitney, with no previous experience and having nothing but his faith and self-assurance to tell him he was not pursuing a chimera, began to outline how he would get a railroad across the vast, uninhabited middle of the American continent to the Pacific shores, where the lure of Asia beckoned, within reach.
-- David Haward Bain, Empire Express
She seems to spend most of the book sobbing, throwing up and generally marinating in a stew of self-absorption while searching fruitlessly for that chimera, her true self, inexpertly aided by astrologers and new-age therapists.
-- "Cutting through fantasies to crazy life", USA Today, December 2, 1999
These "chimeras" can be created because of our power--derived from the recombinant DNA technology developed in the early 1970s--to move DNA from one species to another.
-- Bryan Appleyard, Brave New Worlds
Chimera comes from Latin chimaera, from Greek chimaira "she-goat, chimera."