Definition of augur in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɔːɡə/


[no object] (augur well/badly/ill)
1(Of an event or circumstance) portend a good or bad outcome: the end of the cold war seemed to augur well
More example sentences
  • He said that both sides' willingness to talk augured well for a peaceful outcome.
  • Indeed, to have an operation begin with a helicopter crash does not augur well for its outcome.
  • Those events certainly did not augur well for the success of the project.
portend, herald, be a sign of, be an indication of, be a warning of, warn of, forewarn of, be an omen of, be a harbinger of, foreshadow, presage, indicate, signify, signal, point to, promise, threaten, spell, denote;
foretell, forecast, predict, prophesy, prognosticate, divine, foresee
literary betoken, foretoken, forebode, harbinger
archaic foreshow, previse
Scottish archaic spae
rare vaticinate, auspicate
1.1 [with object] Portend or bode (a specified outcome): they feared that these happenings augured a neo-Nazi revival
More example sentences
  • The move augurs disaster for pastoralism in the sub-continent, it is a mode of violence against the lives and livelihoods of several thousand rural households.
  • Perhaps it augurs a return to the epicene male fashion of Genji's time.
  • Lee does not reckon that much concrete will emerge from the summit but, she adds, ‘I am certain it will augur a new mood in North Korea.’
1.2 [with object] archaic Foresee or predict.
Example sentences
  • Of course, they augured stuff by poking around in crow guts too, so that's how much they knew.


(In ancient Rome) a religious official who observed natural signs, especially the behaviour of birds, interpreting these as an indication of divine approval or disapproval of a proposed action.
Example sentences
  • In the case of the augurs or haruspices of Rome, the animal was sacrificed to permit contemplation of the entrails for prophetic purposes.
  • People called augurs could also be found in the temples.
  • Appropriately, with his head veiled he had the omens taken on the Capitoline Hill, accompanied by augurs and priests, and received the requested signs.
seer, soothsayer, fortune teller, crystal gazer, clairvoyant, psychic, visionary, prognosticator, diviner, prophesier, prophet, prophetess, oracle, sibyl, sage, wise man, wise woman;
Scottish  spaewife, spaeman
rare oracler, vaticinator, haruspex


The spellings augur (a verb meaning ‘portend a good or bad outcome’, as in this augurs well) and auger (a type of tool used for boring) are sometimes confused, but the two words are quite different in both their present meaning and their origins.



Pronunciation: /ˈɔːɡjʊ(ə)r(ə)l/
adjective ( archaic)
Example sentences
  • The statue clearly indicates that Marsyas, the teacher of augural practice of auspices, arrived in Italy from Asia Minor.
  • Why, we might ask, would the Princeps desire to eliminate any traces of the traditional augural function of this minor deity?


Late Middle English (as a noun): from Latin, 'diviner'.

  • auspicious from late 16th century:

    In Roman times people tried to predict future events by watching the behaviour of animals and birds. An auspex was a person who observed the flight of birds for omens about what to do in important matters. A related word, auspicium, meant ‘taking omens from birds’. Like auspex, it came from avis ‘bird’ and specere ‘to look’, and is the source of auspice (mid 16th century). It was originally used to translate the Roman concept, but later came to mean ‘a premonition or forecast, especially of a happy future’. Auspicious accordingly meant ‘fortunate or favourable’. If the auspex's omens were favourable, he was seen as the protector of a particular enterprise, hence the expression under the auspices of, ‘with the help, support, or protection of’. An auspex was also known as an augur (again, avis ‘bird’ is the root of this word, together with garrire ‘to talk’). If something augurs (Late Middle English) well, it is a sign of a good outcome. See also aviation, inaugural

Words that rhyme with augur


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: augur

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