HIPPOGRIFF, n. An animal (now extinct) which was half horse and half griffin. The griffin was itself a compound creature, half lion and half eagle. The hippogriff was actually, therefore, a one-quarter eagle, which is two dollars and fifty cents in gold. The study of zoology is full of surprises.
2008 Update: A myth of antiquity manufactured from horse, lion and eagle equivalent to the contemporary mulipoodle, the issue of a topiary and a half-horse half-ass that wanders mercurially braying news, opinion and analysis.