Student Dictionary

One entry found for auspicious.
Main Entry: aus·pi·cious
Pronunciation: odot-primarystressspish-schwas
Function: adjective
Etymology: from Latin auspicium "reading the future from the flight of birds" and English -ous (adjective suffix)
1 : promising success : FAVORABLE <an auspicious beginning>
2 : SUCCESSFUL 1, prosperous <has been an auspicious year>
- aus·pi·cious·ly adverb
- aus·pi·cious·ness noun
Word History In ancient Rome the flight of birds was thought to be a sign from the gods. If a bird swooped down or soared up, it might mean good or bad luck for a person. But only special people were thought to be able to read these signs. Such a person was called in Latin an auspex, meaning literally "bird observer." The word was formed from Latin avis, meaning "bird," and the Latin verb specere, meaning "to see." The art of predicting the future in this way came to be called auspicium. A reading of bird actions was taken each time a person or the state was about to take an important step, such as marriage, a new business, or war. The word was taken into English by borrowing the Latin stem auspici- of auspicium and adding the adjective suffix -ous. Although auspicium could mean either good news or bad news, when auspicious came to be used in English, it was always used of something favorable.

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