Auspice

Auspice

ˈôspəs

Noun

  • A divine or prophetic token.

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Example Sentences

“Gregory was superstitious about all kinds of auspices and omens.”

“Some cultures consider finding an acorn a good auspice.”

“My aunt thought a swallow sighting was a favorable auspice.”

Word Origin

Latin, mid-16th century

Why this word?

Those who encounter a prophetic sign or omen can use another word to describe such a phenomenon: “auspice,” which means “a prophetic token that symbolizes a future event.” “Auspice” came into English in the mid-16th century from Latin, and originally referred to a divination practice of observing a bird in flight. In Latin, “auspex” means “observer of birds,” and can be broken into “avis” (“bird”) and “specere” (“to look”). Many cultures view birds as an auspice, both positively and negatively. For example, birds appearing in a dream are often considered a sign of life, rebirth, and hope for the future. On the other hand, birds often disappear before natural disasters, leading many people to view them as a portent of danger.

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