[ kahy-ruh l ]
/ ˈkaɪ rəl /

adjective Chemistry.

(of a molecule) not superimposable on its mirror image.

Nearby words

  1. chipset,
  2. chiquita,
  3. chir-,
  4. chirac,
  5. chirac, jacques rené,
  6. chirality,
  7. chirchik,
  8. chiricahua,
  9. chirico,
  10. chirico, giorgio de

Origin of chiral

1894; chir- < Greek cheír hand + -al1; coined by Lord Kelvin

Related formschi·ral·i·ty [kahy-ral-i-tee] /kaɪˈræl ɪ ti/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Word Origin and History for chiral



1894, a hybrid coined by Lord Kelvin from Latinized comb. form of Greek kheir "hand" (from PIE *ghes- "hand;" see chiro-) + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for chiral


[ kīrəl ]


Of or relating to the structural characteristic of a molecule that makes it impossible to superimpose it on its mirror image.
Related formschi•rali•ty (kī-rălĭ-tē) n.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.