- Old English, from Latin Venus (plural veneres), in ancient Roman mythology, the goddess of beauty and love, especially sensual love, from venus "love, sexual desire, loveliness, beauty, charm," from PIE root *wen- (1) "to strive after, wish, desire" (cf. Sanskrit veti "follows after," vanas- "desire," vanati "desires, loves, wins;" Avestan vanaiti "he wishes, is victorious," vayeiti "hunts;" Lithuanian veju "to hunt, pursue;" Old Church Slavonic voji "warrior;" Old English waþ "hunting," wynn "joy," wunian "to dwell," wenian "to accustom, train, wean," wyscan "to wish;" Old Norse veiðr "chase, hunting, fishing"). Applied by the Romans to Greek Aphrodite, Egyptian Hathor, etc.
Meaning "second planet from the sun" is attested from late 13c. (Old English had morgensteorra and æfensteorra). The venus fly-trap (Dionæa muscipula) was discovered 1760 by Gov. Arthur Dobbs in North Carolina and description sent to Collinson in England. The Algonquian name for the plant, titipiwitshile, yielded regional American English tippity wichity.