annus mirabilis


an·​nus mi·​ra·​bi·​lis ˈa-nəs-mə-ˈrä-bə-ləs How to pronounce annus mirabilis (audio)
plural anni mirabiles ˈa-ˌnī-mə-ˈrä-bə-ˌlēz How to pronounce annus mirabilis (audio)
: a remarkable or notable year

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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 in scientific descriptions and classification. The phrase is not particularly common, but it is used by writers and historians to denote any notably remarkable year.

Examples of annus mirabilis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It was eventually disproved—thanks to the famous Michelson-Morley experiment in 1887 and Albert Einstein's development of special relativity and his paper on the photoelectric effect in 1905 (his annus mirabilis). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 4 Feb. 2023 Einstein shot to fame within the scientific community in 1905, a year christened as his annus mirabilis. Brian Greene, Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2015 The year is 1973 — the same horror-cinema annus mirabilis of The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now, for those of you playing along at home. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 30 Mar. 2023 How much fondness does history display for the annus mirabilis that doesn’t end with a championship parade? Christopher L. Gasper,, 6 Mar. 2023 Cahiers du cinéma who were intent upon becoming filmmakers: Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and Éric Rohmer—and the year of its inception as 1959, which Monaco calls its annus mirabilis, when most of his subjects made their first features. James Quandt, The New York Review of Books, 8 June 2022 There are amazing accounts of scientists like Ben Franklin, in Paris, trying to understand the bizarre phenomena seen in the ‘annus mirabilis’ of 1783 across Europe. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 19 Jan. 2015 The year 1982 isn’t considered a film annus mirabilis, the way, say, 1939 is. Mark Feeney,, 27 July 2022 She was first elected to Parliament in 1964—an annus mirabilis for all things progressive—and spent much of the next 15 years on the front bench. The Economist, 15 Apr. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'annus mirabilis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, literally, wonderful year

First Known Use

1643, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of annus mirabilis was in 1643


Dictionary Entries Near annus mirabilis

Cite this Entry

“Annus mirabilis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

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