[ aw-gyuh-ree ]
/ ˈɔ gyə ri /
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See synonyms for: augury / augural on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural au·gu·ries.
the art or practice of an augur; divination.
the rite or ceremony of an augur.
an omen, token, or indication.
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Origin of augury

1325–75; Middle English <Latin augurium soothsaying, equivalent to auguraugur1 + -ium-ium


au·gu·ral, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does augury mean?

Augury is the practice of auguring—attempting to predict the future based on interpreting omens or in some other mystical way.

The word augur can also be used as a noun 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. Augury can refer to the practice of such an augur or to a specific ceremony or rite used by an augur.

Augur can also be used in a more specific way to refer to an Ancient Roman official who acted as soothsayer or priest. Such augurs were responsible for augury that involved interpreting omens to guide decisions. Roman lawmakers would consult augurs before officially taking a position.

Augury can also be used to refer to an omen, sign, or indication of something, as in Red skies in the morning are known to sailors as an augury of bad weather.

Example: Regardless of what form of augury they claim to use, no one can truly predict the future.

Where does augury come from?

The first records of the word augury come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin augurium, meaning “soothsaying.” It ultimately derives from the Latin 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 augury is used in a general way referring to an indication of something that will happen, it’s associated with the mysticism of its more specific uses that involve attempts to actually predict the future.

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What are some other forms related to augury?

  • augural (adjective)
  • augur (noun, verb)

What are some synonyms for augury?

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

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

How is augury used in real life?

Even when augury is used in a general way, it often calls to mind its more specific senses involving mystical ways of predicting the future.


Try using augury!

Which of the following words can be used as a synonym of augury?

A. divination
B. soothsaying
C. prognostication
D. all of the above

How to use augury in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for augury

/ (ˈɔːɡjʊrɪ) /

noun plural -ries
the art of or a rite conducted by an augur
a sign or portent; omen
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