Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Last Words for 2012

A new word a day keeps the boredom at bay!  Once again, the words featured here are from my 365 New Words-a-Year calendar (which I need to replace soon).

1. sirenian:  an aquatic mammal (such as a manatee) with large forelimbs, no hind limbs, and a flat tail

Mrs. Fisher's third grade class was fascinated by the oddly shaped sirenians at the aquarium.

Manatee photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I wouldn't have guessed that sirenian is a noun--it sounds more like an adjective to me because of the "ian".  Wikipedia lists this word as 'sirenia', and then states that 'sirenian' is also used.  These sea creatures are considered to be the basis of the myth of mermaids.  Sirenian traces back via Latin to the Greek seiren, although modern sirenians differ from sirens, and don't resemble the half bird, half woman creatures who lured sailors to their doom with their irresistibly sweet singing. 

2. mansuetude:  the quality or state of being gentle; meekness or tameness

The mansuetude of the large basketball player surprised us all at the dinner party; he was a gentle giant.   

I'm still a bit surprised at the definition (you could have some fun using this word incorrectly).  But the word derives from the Latin verb mansuescere, which means "to tame", so the definition makes sense.

3. annus mirabilis: wonderful year

This is the final word for 2012 in my calendar.  I hope the past year has been an annus mirabilis, overall, for my readers.

The "year of wonders" to British poet John Dryden was 1666, due to the British naval victory over the Dutch and the great London fire, and he titled his 1667 poetic review of 1666 "Annus Mirabilis".

Hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog, Wondrous Words Wednesday is the superlative meme for word sleuths and wordsmiths.  What new words have you discovered recently?


  1. Great words. I would have never guessed the meaning of any of them!

  2. Sirenian does sound like an adjective. I always thought a siren was a mermaid like creature and I would have guessed that sireneian was related to them. Great words today!

  3. Replies
    1. Yvonne, I think you'd enjoy finding words to feature from your "cozies". :)

  4. :) love these words.. all new for me.. thanks and annus mirabilis to you for the rest of this and for the new one too

  5. Wonderful words, Suko! Thank you. May 2013 truly be an "annus mirabilis" for you.


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