lusus naturae

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From Latin lūsus nātūrae (sport of Nature),[1] from lūsus (playing”, “sport)[1] + nātūrae (of Nature), genitive singular of nātūra (Nature). Plural from Latin lūsūs nātūræ (sports of Nature), from lūsūs (playings”, “sports).


  • (Received Pronunciation) enPR: lo͞oʹso͞os nətyo͝oəʹrē, lyo͞oʹso͞os nətyo͝oəʹrē, IPA(key): /ˈluːsuːs nəˈtjʊəɹiː/, /ˈljuːsuːs nəˈtjʊəɹiː/


lusus naturae (plural lusus naturae)

  1. (historical, originally) A sportive quality in Nature to which abnormal forms were formerly ascribed; a supposed capricious act of Nature regarded as the cause and origin of anomalies in a given organism.
    • 1665, Robert Hooke, Micrographia, section XXII:
      I have observ'd some meshes to have 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9. sides, and some to have onely one, so exceeding various is the Lusus Naturæ in this body.
  2. (countable) An organism exhibiting marked such deviation from the norm, seeming to be the result of sportive design; a freak of nature.

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 ‖lusus naturæ” listed in the Oxford English Dictionary [2nd Ed.; 1989]



lūsus nātūrae m (genitive lūsūs nātūrae); fourth declension

  1. a deformed or strangely marked creature; a freak


Fourth-declension noun with an indeclinable portion.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative lūsus nātūrae lūsūs nātūrae
Genitive lūsūs nātūrae lūsuum nātūrae
Dative lūsuī nātūrae lūsibus nātūrae
Accusative lūsum nātūrae lūsūs nātūrae
Ablative lūsū nātūrae lūsibus nātūrae
Vocative lūsus nātūrae lūsūs nātūrae