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haruspex

[huh-ruhs-peks, har-uh-speks]
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noun, plural ha·rus·pi·ces [huh-ruhs-puh-seez] /həˈrʌs pəˌsiz/.
  1. (in ancient Rome) one of a class of minor priests who practiced divination, especially from the entrails of animals killed in sacrifice.
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Also aruspex.

Origin of haruspex

1575–85; < Latin, equivalent to haru- (akin to hīra intestine; see chord1) + spec- (stem of specere to look at) + -s nominative singular ending
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

witchseerprognosticatordivinermediumsibylastrologerforecasterreaderwizardbardfortunetellersoothsayeroracleaugurauspexmagusclairvoyantsorcererdruid

Examples from the Web for haruspex

Historical Examples

  • "He is indispensable to us at this time," said the haruspex.

    Uarda, Complete

    Georg Ebers

  • During this speech the haruspex had frequently shrugged his shoulders.

    Uarda, Complete

    Georg Ebers

  • "So long as you are our leader, certainly," cried the haruspex.

    Uarda, Complete

    Georg Ebers

  • The haruspex ordered that the "ill-used man" should be set at liberty.

    Uarda, Complete

    Georg Ebers

  • Manlius assisted in bringing the animals selected for victims to the haruspex.


British Dictionary definitions for haruspex

haruspex

noun plural haruspices (həˈrʌspɪˌsiːz)
  1. (in ancient Rome) a priest who practised divination, esp by examining the entrails of animals
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Derived Formsharuspical (həˈrʌspɪkəl), adjectiveharuspicy (həˈrʌspɪsɪ), noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin, probably from hīra gut + 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

Word Origin and History for haruspex

n.

1580s, from Latin haruspex (plural haruspices) "soothsayer by means of entrails," first element from PIE *ghere- "gut, entrail" (see yarn); second element from Latin spic- "beholding, inspecting" (see inspect). The practice is Etruscan. Related: Haruspical; haruspication.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper