Literally "rare bird," a rara avis is a person who is unusual and remarkable.
Lots of ways are acceptable.
I recommend "RAR uh AY viss."
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one rara avis, a rara avis, or the rara avis,
but we don't usually make this one plural.)
Other forms: none
How to use it:
You don't want to confuse "rara avis" with "odd duck," which is a nice way of calling someone a weirdo. "Rara avis" is a compliment, and kind of a fancy one. Make sure your context is right for it.
You usually talk about a person being a rara avis, or the rara avis of something, or a rara avis to you, as in "he's such a rara avis," "she's the rara avis of Nashville," and "he returned the wallet with cash intact---he's a rara avis to me."
But you can also use this term more loosely to call a thing a rara avis: "This business book, a rara avis, has no filler or jargon at all."
Sarah is a rara avis, a Realtor who works logistical miracles and solves problems before they happen.
A day with no spills or other messes is a rara avis in my life as Mommy.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "rara avis" means when you can explain it without saying "exceptional person" or "rarity."
Think of someone very talented and well-known in your field of work or your hobby, and fill in the blanks: "(Person) is the rara avis of (field of work or hobby.)"
Example: "Kim is the rara avis of Pinterest."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with some fascinating thematic word lists assembled by Stephen Chrisomalis, an English language expert over at The Phrontistery who kindly gave permission for me to use his work. (Check out his site; you will definitely enjoy it!)
Try a question each day, and see the right answers here the following day--or if you can't wait, follow the link to Stephen's list to dig out the answers yourself. Have fun!
As Stephen points out, the suffix "-aster" indicates a lesser status: a state of being unskilled or crummy at what you do. For example, a criticaster is an inferior or petty critic, and a mathematicaster is an inferior or minor mathematician. See if you can come up with the words for these other inferior workers:
- Someone who writes songs or plays an instrument in a horribly quotidian way is a... - Someone really bad at making predictions based on the stars is an ... - Someone who thinks they're a doctor but is really just a quack is a...
These unfortunate folks are the musicaster, the astrologaster, and the medicaster. Even if you didn't come up with these words letter-by-letter, were you pretty close?
Try this one today:
The following super-short words are real, and they do kind of mean what they sound like! Any guesses about what they mean? Iff, jus, & mim.
Can't wait until tomorrow for the right answers? Check out Stephen's full list and discussion at the Phrontistery.
A Point Well Made:
Chuck Palahniuk: “Everything is funnier in retrospect, funnier and prettier and cooler. You can laugh at anything from far enough away.”
1. The best opposite of RARA AVIS is
A. LOST SOUL
2. By demanding that the work be done in such a strict and specific way, you're only _____ any rara avis you may have on staff.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.