rara avis [ rair- uh ey-vis; Latin - rah rah ah-wis] Word Origin See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com noun, plural ra·rae a·ves . [ rair-ee ey-veez; Latin - rah rahy ah-wes] /ˈrɛər i ˈeɪ viz; ˈrɑ raɪ ˈɑ wɛs/ Latin a rare person or thing; rarity. Origin of rara avis
First recorded in
1600–10, rara avis is from the Latin word rāra avis rare bird
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for rara avis noun plural rarae aves ( ˈrɛəriː ˈeɪviːz) an unusual, uncommon, or exceptional person or thing Word Origin
Latin: rare bird
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for rara avis n.
c.1600, "peculiar person," from Latin
rara avis, literally "strange bird," from rara, fem. of rarus "rare" (see rare (adj.1)) + avis "bird" (see aviary). Latin plural is raræ aves. Horace's peacock (a Roman delicacy), Juvenal's black swan ( "Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper