rara avis


ra·​ra avis ˌrer-ə-ˈā-vəs How to pronounce rara avis (audio)
plural rara avises ˌrer-ə-ˈā-və-səz How to pronounce rara avis (audio) or rarae aves ˌrär-ˌī-ˈä-ˌwās How to pronounce rara avis (audio)
: someone or something that is rare : rarity sense 2
Elizabeth Bishop was the anomaly, the rara avis, of her generation of poets …Harper's
It is easy to see why Ms. Hacker's early work had such an impact; a rara avis in the swamp of free verse, she writes villanelles, sestinas and sonnets …David Kirby
And she has become that rara avis, a serious medievalist with a popular following.Patrick J. Geary
The Bob Dorough-Dave Frishberg concert at Kaye Playhouse on June 19 is sure to sell out, combining two comparable rarae aves—clever, storytelling jazz songwriters.Ben Ratliff

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Sitting in the center, with a passenger seat to the left and right, the lucky driver will feel equally at home in the US, the UK or anywhere a long stretch of pavement invites this rara avis to soar. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 21 June 2021 Finding that rara avis of product design that combines pretty with practical is thrilling, and porcelain tile is both. Sarah Baird, Good Housekeeping, 14 Sep. 2020

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

Word History


Latin, rare bird

First Known Use

1607, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rara avis was in 1607

Dictionary Entries Near rara avis

Cite this Entry

“Rara avis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rara%20avis. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

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