Words related to *gheim-
fabulous monster of Greek mythology, slain by Bellerophon, late 14c., from Old French chimere or directly from Medieval Latin chimera, from Latin Chimaera, from Greek khimaira, name of a mythical fire-breathing creature, slain by Bellerophon, with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a dragon's tail; literally "year-old she-goat" (masc. khimaros), from kheima "winter season," from PIE root *gheim- "winter."
Supposedly a personification of snow or winter, but the connection to winter might be no more than the ancient habit of reckoning years as "winters." It was held by the ancients to represent a volcano; perhaps it was a symbol of "winter storms" (another sense of Greek kheima) and generally of destructive natural forces. The word was used generically for "any grotesque monster formed from parts of other animals;" hence the figurative meaning "wild fantasy" first recorded 1580s in English (13c. in French).
Beestis clepid chymeres, that han a part of ech beest, and suche ben not, no but oonly in opynyoun. [Wyclif, "Prologue"]
1660s, "action of passing the winter" (of plants, insect eggs, etc.), from Latin hibernationem (nominative hibernatio) "the action of passing the winter," noun of action from past participle stem of hibernare "to winter, pass the winter, occupy winter quarters;" related to hiems "winter," from PIE root *gheim- "winter." Meaning "dormant condition of animals" is from 1789.
Old English winter (plural wintru), "the fourth and coldest season of the year, winter," from Proto-Germanic *wintruz "winter" (source also of Old Frisian, Dutch winter, Old Saxon, Old High German wintar, German winter, Danish and Swedish vinter, Gothic wintrus, Old Norse vetr "winter"), probably literally "the wet season," from PIE *wend-, nasalized form of root *wed- (1) "water; wet"). On another old guess, cognate with Gaulish vindo-, Old Irish find "white." The usual PIE word is *gheim-.
As an adjective in Old English. The Anglo-Saxons counted years in "winters," as in Old English ænetre "one-year-old;" and wintercearig, which might mean either "winter-sad" or "sad with years." Old Norse Vetrardag, first day of winter, was the Saturday that fell between Oct. 10 and 16.