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

Essential Meaning of chimera

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

Full 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.

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 Though chimera cats are rare, chimerism can be hereditary, according to Healthline. Nicholas Rice,, 29 Oct. 2021 This chimera sustains their fit-for-lawyer-purpose paradigm. Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, 8 Sep. 2021 The Verge is a narrative chimera, a work of history that synthesizes the author’s academic origins with his current profession, that of podcast raconteur. Razib Khan, National Review, 31 July 2021 Well, leave it to today’s Senate Democrats — and compliant Republicans — to insist on the chimera of equality at the expense of quality. The Editors, National Review, 27 July 2021 This chimera is unlikely to have arisen at once, but instead involved repeat genetic reshuffles between different coronaviruses over time. Anthony King, Science | AAAS, 20 May 2021 The amendment would have imposed either 10 years imprisonment or a fine of at least $1,000,000 – or both – for even attempting to create a human-animal chimera. Andrew Solender, Forbes, 27 May 2021 The long slog of the Premier League has proved easy to master in comparison with the chimera of the Champions League. New York Times, 4 May 2021 And rodent chimera embryos containing human brain cells don’t survive long enough to have altered cognition or social behavior. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, 8 Apr. 2021

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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chime maul



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Last Updated

2 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chimera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for chimera


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

More from Merriam-Webster on chimera

Nglish: Translation of chimera for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about chimera


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