Wednesday, September 2, 2009


These two words have always stumped me. I'd either forget what they meant or I'd forget how to pronounce them. I bet a psychiatrist would tell me that I'm "suppressing" those terms because they're REALLY SCARY and I'm fundamentally a coward. But Im not shelling out $250/hr to find out.

CHIMERA is pronounced "kye MEER uh" and it's defined as a frightening monster made up of bizarre combinations of different animals.

You'll see chimera frequently defined as a fire-breathing she-monster with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail. Sounds like my prom date. But I think that definition is sexist so I just say chimera to connote a gender-neutral monster. Here's one that fits the bill (notice the goat head emerging from the body):

MASCARON is often mispronounced "mack UH roon" but that's a yummy cookie that Jewish people eat on Passover (they're really delicious, especially the coconut ones). Wrong pronunciation but still a great treat and highly recommended.

This is a coconut macaroon:

MASCARON is properly pronounced "MASK kah rohn" and is a grotesque mask (facial) motif, like the one shown below on a 19th c. majolica urn:

List price: $46,500 USD

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