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Apr 28, 2008
This week's theme
Words derived from the names of mythical creatures

This week's words
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with Anu Garg

So many mythological animals live on in literature, in our minds, and in our imagination, that they would fill a virtual zoo.

Because these creatures are myths, they're not bound by biological rules. Sometimes they're part human, part animal. They could have a human head and an animal body, or vice versa.

These permutations and combinations of body parts make it look as though the gods were playing a mix-n-match game of combining parts to make composites. At times, one of these mythical animals had more than a single head.

Enjoy looking at the menagerie this week and feel free to use their attributes metaphorically in situations in your life.


(ki-MEER-uh, ky-) Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

1. A fanciful fabrication; illusion.
2. An organism having genetically different tissues.

After Chimera, a fire-breathing female monster in Greek mythology who had a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail. From Greek khimaira (she-goat), ultimately from the Indo-European root ghei- (winter) that is the ancestor of words such as chimera (literally a female animal that is one winter, or one year old), hibernate, and the Himalayas, from Sanskrit him (snow) + alaya (abode).

See more usage examples of chimera in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

"The government subsidies [for bio-fuel] may quickly dry up once policymakers face up to the reality of their euphoric chimera, and food shortages threaten political stability and national security."
Abdullah A. Dewan; Fuel Versus Food; The Daily Star (Dhaka, Bangladesh); Apr 24, 2008.


My poverty is not complete: it lacks me. -Antonio Porchia, writer (1886-1968)

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