or chi·mae·ra

[ kahy-meer-uh ]
See synonyms for: chimerachimeric on

noun,plural chi·me·ras.
  1. Often Chimera .Greek Mythology. a fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.

  2. any grotesque monster having disparate parts, as depicted or described in art, legend, fantasy fiction, video games, etc.

  1. a strange, horrible, or impossible idea or figment of the imagination: He is far different from the chimera your fears have made of him.Without equality, unity is a chimera.

  2. anything created by taking parts or aspects of different kinds of things and combining them: We are like an audio-art chimera, in that we act as part literary journal, part music showcase, and part storytelling podcast.

  3. Genetics. an organism composed of two or more genetically distinct tissues, such as one produced artificially by combining cells or tissues from different species: Chimeras were generated by splicing West Nile and Zika viruses into the genetic backbone of two different insect-specific viruses.

  1. being or relating to a chimera or chimeras: The chimera embryos used in this research are sheep embryos containing human cells.

Origin of chimera

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English chimera, from Latin chimaera, from Greek chímaira “she-goat,” from chímaros “he-goat,” perhaps originally “animal one winter old”; akin to Old Norse gymbr, English gimmer “ewe-lamb one year (i.e., one winter) old,” Latin hiems “winter” (see hiemal), Greek cheîma “winter cold” (see isocheim)

Other words for chimera

Other words from chimera

  • chi·mer·ic, chi·maer·ic, adjective
  • chi·mer·ism, chi·maer·ism, noun

Words Nearby chimera Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use chimera in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for chimera



/ (kaɪˈmɪərə, kɪ-) /

  1. (often capital) Greek myth a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a goat, and tail of a serpent

  2. a fabulous beast made up of parts taken from various animals

  1. a wild and unrealistic dream or notion

  2. biology an organism, esp a cultivated plant, consisting of at least two genetically different kinds of tissue as a result of mutation, grafting, etc

Origin of chimera

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

Cultural definitions for 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.

Notes for chimera

Figuratively, a “chimera” is a creation of the imagination, especially a wild creation.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.