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Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.


annus mirabilis

January 1st, 2016

Episode 411 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 1, 2016 is: annus mirabilis \ann-us-muh-RAH-buh-lus\ noun : a remarkable or notable year Examples: "It has been an annus mirabilis for the college: the new dormitories were completed and we have increased enrollment to fill those buildings," announced the president. "If he wins the tournament today, for the fourth year in a row, he will have claimed 11 titles in the season, which would beat his haul from hisannus mirabilisof 2011." — Paul Newman, The Independent (London), 22 Nov. 2015 Did you know? To British poet John Dryden, the "year of wonders" was 1666. That was the year of a great British naval victory over the Dutch, as well as the date of the great London fire. When he titled his 1667 poetic review of 1666 and its events Annus Mirabilis, Dryden became one of the first writers to use that Latinate phrase in an otherwise English context. Annus mirabilis is a direct translation from New Latin, the form of Latin that has been used since the end of the medieval period (especially for scientific descriptions and classification). The phrase is not extremely common, but it is used by writers and historians to denote any particularly remarkable year.

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