Ve·​nus | \ ˈvē-nəs How to pronounce Venus (audio) \

Definition of Venus

1 : the Roman goddess of love and beauty — compare aphrodite
2 : the planet second in order from the sun — see Planets Table

First Known Use of Venus

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Venus

Latin Vener-, Venus, deified abstraction from an originally neuter common noun venus "sexual desire, qualities exciting desire, charm"; akin to Sanskrit vanate "(s/he) likes, takes pleasure in," -vana- "loving," vāñchati "(s/he) desires, wishes," Old English wȳscan "to wish," wunian "to remain, dwell," Old Norse una "to be satisfied"

Note: Latin venus, as probably also Vedic Sanskrit vanas-, a hapax legomenon of uncertain meaning, is an s-stem derivative from a verbal base going back to Indo-European *wenH- "wish, desire," most likely distinct from *wen- "struggle, gain"; see win entry 1.

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The first known use of Venus was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Venus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of Venus

: the planet that is second in order from the sun


Ve·​nus | \ ˈvē-nəs How to pronounce Venus (audio) \

Kids Definition of Venus

: the planet that is second in order of distance from the sun and has a diameter of about 7,500 miles (12,100 kilometers)

More from Merriam-Webster on Venus

Nglish: Translation of Venus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of Venus for Arabic Speakers

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