chimera

noun
chi·​me·​ra | \ kī-ˈmir-ə How to pronounce chimera (audio) , kə- \

Definition of chimera

1a capitalized : a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail
b : an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts
2 : an illusion or fabrication of the mind especially : an unrealizable dream a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayer — John Donne His utopia was a chimera.
3 : an individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution A hybrid created through fusion of a sperm and an egg from different species is a chimera.

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Did You Know?

In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a fearsome, fire-breathing monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a dragon's tail. She terrorized the people of Lycia until their king, Iobates, asked the hero Bellerophon to slay her. Iobates had an ulterior motive; his son-in-law wanted Bellerophon killed and the king was sure the Chimera would do the job. But Bellerophon called in Pegasus, the winged horse, and brought the Chimera down from above. The beast lived on in people's imaginations, and English speakers adopted her name for any similarly grotesque monster, or, later, for anything fanciful.

Examples of chimera in a Sentence

Economic stability in that country is a chimera. a monster in the closet would not have been the first chimera that the boy had seen in his mind's eye
Recent Examples on the Web In essence, the head of the chimera is only there to stabilize the stalk. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "An innovative universal flu vaccine shows promises in it first clinical test," 7 Dec. 2020 Bacteria had eaten away at the iron artifacts onboard, but wooden artifacts, including the masthead of a griffin-dog chimera holding a person’s head in its mouth, remained intact. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Well-Preserved Atlantic Sturgeon Found in 15th-Century Danish Shipwreck," 8 Sep. 2020 So far, the EU has solved this problem by treating China as a geopolitical chimera. The Economist, "Charlemagne Europe’s “Sinatra doctrine” on China," 11 June 2020 So far, the EU has solved this problem by treating China as a geopolitical chimera. The Economist, "Charlemagne Europe’s “Sinatra doctrine” on China," 11 June 2020 So far, the EU has solved this problem by treating China as a geopolitical chimera. The Economist, "Charlemagne Europe’s “Sinatra doctrine” on China," 11 June 2020 So far, the EU has solved this problem by treating China as a geopolitical chimera. The Economist, "Charlemagne Europe’s “Sinatra doctrine” on China," 11 June 2020 In principle, a DNA or RNA strand made from left-handed nucleotide bricks should work just as well as one made of right-handed bricks (although a chimera combining left and right subunits probably wouldn’t fare so well). Quanta Magazine, "Cosmic Rays May Explain Life’s Bias for Right-Handed DNA," 29 June 2020 So far, the EU has solved this problem by treating China as a geopolitical chimera. The Economist, "Charlemagne Europe’s “Sinatra doctrine” on China," 11 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chimera.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chimera

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for chimera

Latin chimaera, from Greek chimaira she-goat, chimera; akin to Old Norse gymbr yearling ewe, Greek cheimōn winter — more at hibernate

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The first known use of chimera was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Chimera.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chimera. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for chimera

chimera

noun

English Language Learners Definition of chimera

: a monster from Greek mythology that breathes fire and has a lion's head, a goat's body, and a snake's tail
formal : something that exists only in the imagination and is not possible in reality

chimera

noun
chi·​me·​ra
variants: or chiefly British chimaera \ kī-​ˈmir-​ə, kə-​ How to pronounce chimera (audio) \

Medical Definition of chimera

: an individual, organ, or part containing tissue with two or more genetically distinct populations of cells

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More from Merriam-Webster on chimera

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chimera

Nglish: Translation of chimera for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chimera

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