from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One of a group of ancient Roman religious officials who foretold events by observing and interpreting signs and omens.
  • noun A seer or prophet; a soothsayer.
  • intransitive verb To predict, especially from signs or omens; foretell. synonym: foretell.
  • intransitive verb To serve as an omen of; betoken.
  • intransitive verb To make predictions from signs or omens.
  • intransitive verb To be a sign or omen.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To prognosticate from signs, omens, or indications; predict; anticipate: with a personal subject.
  • To betoken; forebode: with a non-personal or impersonal subject.
  • Synonyms To portend, presage, foreshadow, be ominous of.
  • To conjecture from signs or omens.
  • To be a sign; bode: with well or ill.
  • noun Among the ancient Romans, a functionary whose duty it was to observe and to interpret, according to traditional rules, the auspices, or reputed natural signs concerning future events.
  • noun Hence One who pretends to foretell future events by omens; a soothsayer; a prophet; one who bodes, forebodes, or portends.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Rom. Antiq.) An official diviner who foretold events by the singing, chattering, flight, and feeding of birds, or by signs or omens derived from celestial phenomena, certain appearances of quadrupeds, or unusual occurrences.
  • noun One who foretells events by omens; a soothsayer; a diviner; a prophet.
  • intransitive verb To conjecture from signs or omens; to prognosticate; to foreshow.
  • intransitive verb To anticipate, to foretell, or to indicate a favorable or an unfavorable issue.
  • transitive verb To predict or foretell, as from signs or omens; to betoken; to presage; to infer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A diviner who foretells events by the behaviour of birds or other animals, or by signs derived from celestial phenomena, or unusual occurrences.
  • noun An official who interpreted omens before the start of public events.
  • verb To foretell events; to exhibit signs of future events.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb predict from an omen
  • noun (ancient Rome) a religious official who interpreted omens to guide public policy
  • verb indicate by signs


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Latin; see aug- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin augur, of uncertain origin; akin to augurō ("interpret omens").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word augur.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The Augur (pl: augurs) was a priest and official in the classical world, especially ancient Rome. His main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of the birds (flying in groups/alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are), known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society--public or private--including matters of war, commerce, and religion.

    The derivation of the word augur is uncertain; ancient authors believed that it contained the words avi and gero --Latin for "directing the birds"--but historical-linguistic evidence points instead to the root aug-, "to increase, to prosper."


    February 6, 2008

  • Railroad telegraphers' shorthand for the phrase "Authority can be given". --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906.

    January 20, 2013