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a rare bird
A person or thing that is very unusual, especially due to a combination of typically incompatible features. Their latest model is a rare bird indeed, a spacious hatchback that still feels premium and elegant in its design. The film is a rare bird—funny, crass, and yet more emotionally powerful than anything I've seen all year.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
rare birdan exceptional person or thing; a rarity.
The English expression is a literal translation of the Latin rara avis .
2005 Apollo Magazine Joseph Southall is that rare bird, an Arts and Crafts painter.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. an unusual person; a person with rare talents or abilities. An interesting kind of rare bird is the man who can take long vacations and still make money.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
rare bird, a
An unusual phenomenon or person. The term is a translation from Juvenal’s Satires (ca. a.d. 120), in which, speaking of chastity, he writes, “Rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno” (A bird as rare upon the earth as a black swan). The term was soon being applied to other rare phenomena, often as sarcastically as Juvenal had used it, as, for example, for “an honest lawyer” (John Wesley, Journal, 1764).
See also: rare
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer