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 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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 The phrase first made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 1985 as a play on the much-older (and cheerier) annus mirabilis, or wonderful year. San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Dec. 2020 The annus mirabilis, Warner adds, was 1743, when one person’s average annual consumption hit 2.2 gallons. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 2 Dec. 2019 Closing out this annus mirabilis is Doctor Sleep, adapted from King's novel of the same name, a sequel to The Shining. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 8 Nov. 2019 Brand was written in 1865, Ibsen’s annus mirabilis, driven by his anger at Norway’s failure the previous year to come to Denmark’s aid after it was attacked by Bismarck. Andrew Katzenstein, Harper's magazine, 16 Sep. 2019 In a year ripe with 50th anniversary tributes to the Summer of Love, the Beatles‘ mythical annus mirabilis, Starr is striving to keep the spirit alive. Jordan Runtagh,, 15 Sep. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'annus mirabilis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


New Latin, literally, wonderful year

First Known Use

1660, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of annus mirabilis was in 1660

Dictionary Entries Near annus mirabilis

Cite this Entry

“Annus mirabilis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

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