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auspex

[ aw-speks ]
/ ˈɔ spɛks /
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See synonyms for: auspex / auspices on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural aus·pi·ces [aw-spuh-seez]. /ˈɔ spəˌsiz/.

an augur of ancient Rome.

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Origin of auspex

1590–1600; <Latin: one who observes birds, soothsayer, diviner, equivalent to au-, base of avis bird + -spex watcher (spec-, stem of specere to look at) + -s nominative singular suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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What does auspex mean?

An auspex was an Ancient Roman official who acted as soothsayer or priest and was responsible for interpreting omens to guide decisions.

The plural of auspex is auspices.

The Ancient Roman auspices were highly respected religious officials. They were consulted by lawmakers and other leaders prior to major events such as wars and the founding of colonies.

The word augur can mean the same thing, and it is also used as a general term for any prophet, oracle, or soothsayer.

Example: The emperor was known for never taking action before consulting the auspices.

Where does auspex come from?

The first records of the word auspex come from the 1590s. It comes from the Latin auspex, meaning “bird watcher” or “soothsayer,” from avis, “bird,” and specere, “to look.”

The Roman auspices formed many of their predictions by interpreting the flight patterns of birds. The related word auspice means “a favorable sign” or “a divination or prognostication, such as from observing birds.” This is where we get the adjective auspicious, meaning “favorable” or “fortunate.”

The related word haruspex refers to an Ancient Roman soothsayer, especially one who interpreted the entrails of animals.

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What are some other forms related to auspex?

  • auspices (plural)

What are some synonyms for auspex?

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

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

How is auspex used in real life?

Auspex is not commonly used outside of the context of Ancient Roman history.

 

Try using auspex!

Is auspex used correctly in the following sentence? 

The senators consulted the auspex before the vote.

  • With the caution of a veteran auspex, he evaded a direct reply.

    Uncle Sam|Albert Mathews

British Dictionary definitions for auspex

auspex
/ (ˈɔːspɛks) /

noun plural auspices (ˈɔːspɪˌsiːz)

Roman history another word for augur (def. 1)
C16: from Latin: observer of birds, from avis bird + specere to look
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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