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?