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rara avis

[rair-uh ey-vis; Latin rah-rah ah-wis] /ˈrɛər ə ˈeɪ vɪs; Latin ˈrɑ rɑ ˈɑ wɪs/
noun, plural rarae aves
[rair-ee ey-veez; Latin rah-rahy ah-wes] /ˈrɛər i ˈeɪ viz; Latin ˈrɑ raɪ ˈɑ wɛs/ (Show IPA)
1.
a rare person or thing; rarity.
Origin
1600-1610
1600-10; < Latin rāra avis rare bird
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for rara avis

rara avis

/ˈrɛərə ˈeɪvɪs/
noun (pl) rarae aves (ˈrɛəriː ˈeɪviːz)
1.
an unusual, uncommon, or exceptional person or thing
Word Origin
Latin: rare bird
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for rara avis
n.

c.1600, "peculiar person," from Latin rara avis, literally "strange bird," from rara, fem. of rarus "rare" (see rare (adj.1)) + avis "bird" (see aviary). Latin plural is raræ aves. Horace's peacock (a Roman delicacy), Juvenal's black swan ("Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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