annus horribilis

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From the Latin annus (year) + horribilis (of horrors), on the model of annus mirabilis.


  • IPA(key): /ˈænəs həˈɹɪbɪlɪs/
  • (file)


annus horribilis (plural anni horribiles)

  1. (often italicized) A horrible year
    • 1900 February 22, “Year One of the Empire”, in The Nation[1], page 105:
      It is now a full year since the treaty with Spain was ratified, and the ignoble and bloody war in the Philippines began — a true annus horribilis.
    • 1936, John T. Whitaker, And Fear Came[2], page 208:
      As the year 1934, an annus horribilis of political murder and bankrupt statesmanship, drew toward a close, Europe had the jitters.
    • 2008 December 23, Justin McCurry, Mark Milner, “Sales slump puts Toyota on track for first loss in 70 years”, in The Guardian[3]:
      "Toyota will undoubtedly be looking forward to the end of this financial year, which promised so much, yet has become an annus horribilis," said Ian Fletcher.
    • 2022 December 28, Christian Wolmar, “Annus horribilus must mark a turning point for our railway”, in RAIL, number 973, page 44:
      This year, to borrow a timely phrase from our late Queen Elizabeth II, has been the annus horribilus for the railways. Just as she thought that 1992 sparked a possibly existential crisis for the monarchy, many in the rail industry are equally worried about the railways' very future.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often associated specifically with Queen Elizabeth II, who used the phrase in referring to her family's difficulties in 1992.

Related terms[edit]


See also[edit]



annus horribilis m (uncountable)

  1. (often italicized) annus horribilis (a horrible year)



annus horribilis m (plural annus horribilis)

  1. annus horribilis

Further reading[edit]