December 24, 2012
auspicious (adjective)
\aw-SPISH-us\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : promising success : favorable2 : successful, prosperous
How do you use it?
It was an auspicious year for our school's fund-raising group, which raised twice as much money as it did the previous year.
Are you a word wiz?

Tracking the roots of "auspicious" leads us to the animal kingdom! Which beautiful animal do you think played an important role in the history of "auspicious"?

Answer D is an auspicious choice. In ancient Rome, people believed that the flight of birds was a sign from the gods. A bird swooping down or soaring up could mean good or bad luck. A person who could interpret bird movements was called an "auspex," which meant "bird observer." The word "auspex" traces to the Latin words "avis," meaning "bird," and "specere," meaning "to see." Predicting the future in this way came to be called "auspicium," and our word "auspicious" traces to a form of the word "auspicium." "Auspicium" could mean either good news or bad news, but in English "auspicious" always means something good.
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