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augur

1
[ aw-ger ]
/ ˈɔ gər /
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See synonyms for: augur / augured on Thesaurus.com

noun

one of a group of ancient Roman officials charged with observing and interpreting omens for guidance in public affairs.
soothsayer; prophet.

verb (used with object)

to divine or predict, as from omens; prognosticate.
to serve as an omen or promise of; foreshadow; betoken: Mounting sales augur a profitable year.

verb (used without object)

to conjecture from signs or omens; predict.
to be a sign; bode: The movement of troops augurs ill for the peace of the area.

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Origin of augur

1
First recorded in 1540–50; from Latin augur (variant of auger ) “a diviner, soothsayer,” derivative of augēre “to increase, augment” with the original implication of “prosper”; see augment. Cf. august
auger, augur

Definition for augur (2 of 2)

augur2
[ aw-ger ]
/ ˈɔ gər /
Western U.S.

verb (used without object)

to argue, talk, or converse.

noun

an excessively talkative person.

Origin of augur

2
First recorded in 1920–25; metathetic variant of argue; noun perhaps by association with auger
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does augur mean?

Augur means to be a sign or omen of something.

To say that an event or occurrence augurs well for the future means that it is a sign or promise of good things to come—that it foreshadows that things will go well, as in These clear skies augur well for our chances of holding the parade. The verb bode is a close synonym, as in This does not bode well for us.

This sense of augur is often followed by a word describing a positive or negative outcome, especially well or ill, or a specific outcome, as in Early results of the testing augur success.

As a noun, the word augur can be used to refer to a kind of prophet, oracle, or soothsayer—a person who is said to be able to predict the future by using some mystical ability or means.

This sense of augur comes from a more specific use of it as a noun referring to an Ancient Roman official who acted as soothsayer or priest. Such augurs were responsible for interpreting omens to guide decisions. Roman lawmakers would consult augurs before officially taking a position.

As a verb, augur can also mean to predict using omens or in some other mystical way. Similar words are divine and prognosticate.

The related noun augury refers to the practice of soothsaying or divination.

Example: So far, the tone of the negotiations augur well for an agreement.

Where does augur come from?

The first records of the word augur come from the 1540s. It comes from the Latin augur or auger, meaning “a diviner” or “a soothsayer,” from the verb augēre, “to increase” or “to augment” (with the implication of making something prosper). The English words augment and inaugurate are based on the same root. Inaugurate means “to formally induct someone into public office” and its origin alludes to the Roman practice of politicians consulting augurs.

The Ancient Roman augurs were highly respected religious officials. They were consulted prior to major events such as wars, the founding of colonies, and the induction (inauguration) of political officials. Much of their augury was based on interpreting the flight patterns of birds. Another word for this kind of augur is auspex. The related word auspice means “a favorable sign” or “a divination or prognostication, such as from observing birds.”

Even when augur is used in a general way simply meaning “to be a sign of things to come,” it is associated with the mysticism of its more specific uses that involve people claiming to actually predict the future.

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What are some other forms related to augur?

  • augury (noun)
  • augural (adjective)
  • augurship (noun)

What are some synonyms for augur?

What are some words that share a root or word element with augur

What are some words that often get used in discussing augur?

What are some words augur may be commonly confused with?

How is augur used in real life?

Augur is commonly used in the phrase augur well for. Even when it’s used in a general way, it often calls to mind its more specific senses involving mystical ways of predicting the future.

Try using augur!

Which of the following words can be used as a synonym of augur when it refers to a person who is said to be able to predict the future?

A. seer
B. soothsayer
C. prognosticator
D. all of the above

British Dictionary definitions for augur

augur
/ (ˈɔːɡə) /

noun

Also called: auspex (in ancient Rome) a religious official who observed and interpreted omens and signs to help guide the making of public decisions
any prophet or soothsayer

verb

to predict (some future event), as from signs or omens
(tr; may take a clause as object) to be an omen (of); presage
(intr) to foreshadow future events to be as specified; bodethis augurs well for us
augural (ˈɔːɡjʊrəl), adjectiveaugurship, noun
C14: from Latin: a diviner, perhaps from augēre to increase
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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