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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Venus

Time Traveler for Venus

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for Venus

Cite this Entry

“Venus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for Venus


How to pronounce Venus (audio)

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

Comments on Venus

What made you want to look up Venus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!