or chi·mae·ra

[ki-meer-uh, kahy-]

noun, plural chi·me·ras.

(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

Synonyms for chimera Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chimera

Contemporary Examples of chimera

Historical Examples of chimera

  • He can not easily believe it to be simply a chimera of an overwrought brain.

    Oswald Langdon

    Carson Jay Lee

  • The chimera and other animal monsters occur only as figments of the mind.

    The Classification of Patents

    United States Patent Office

  • Ah, that woman in the mask, that chimera of a night, that fancy of an hour!

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

  • Do not delude me with a chimera, and above all do not tempt me to sacrifice my honour to it.

  • For it was evident that to them, this chimera was still real.

British Dictionary definitions for chimera




(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 for 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

Word Origin and History for chimera

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

chimera in Medicine


[kī-mîrə, kĭ-]


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

chimera in Culture


[(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.


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.