(Latin: diviner, soothsayer; a member of the college of priests in Rome, who foretold the future; in ancient Rome, a priest who foretold events by interpreting omens)

Related to augerer, "to increase".

augur (AW gur) (noun), augurs; augured; auguring
1. A prophet, prognosticator, or oracle: A Roman augur told Julius Caesar, "Beware the Ides of March."
2. A priest who was a member of the College of Augurs that numbered twelve, six patricians, and six plebeians.

Before the "lex Domitia de sacerdotiis" was passed by Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus in 104 B.C., new augurs were chosen by those who were already in the college; however, after the law came into effect, augurs were to be publicly elected.

At one time, it is said that augurs did not personally predict the future, nor did they make personal interpretations of the objects or signs to determine whether or not a proposed undertaking had the approval of the gods, but there was a guide book which was to be followed exactly to find out if a meeting, a proposed new law, a war, or any other State or government business should take place.

3. Etymology: be aware of a possible "folk-etymological" derivation error!

John Ayto writes, "In Roman times, an augur was someone who foretold the future by observing the flight of birds (or by examining their entrails). His method of divination was reflected in his title, for the Latin word augur, earlier auger, seems to have meant literally 'one who performs with birds,' from avis 'bird' (as in English aviary) and aviation and gerere 'do, perform' (as in English gestation, gesture, gerund, digest, and suggest).

—John Ayto, Dictionary of Word Origins; Arcade publishing, New York, 1990; page 43.

Another etymologist, Dr. Ernest Klein, challenges part of the above source of information by stating: The usual derivation from avi-ger (avis, "bird", and gerere, "to bear, conduct") is folk etymology.

—According to Dr. Ernest Klein in his
A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language,
Elsevier Publishing Company, New York, 1966; page 127.

Regardless of any disagreement about the etymology of augur, dictionaries generally seem to be "on the same page" in that they essentially agree that it refers to Roman augurs who predicted the future by interpreting the flights of birds and by other natural occurrences; such as, examining their entrails, etc.

augur (verb), augurs; augured, auguring
1. To foretell or to indicate the future; especially, indications of good or bad things that will happen: When Melissa looked out the window, the dark clouds were auguring the coming of a thunderstorm.
2. To indicate a sign or an omen: The successful dress rehearsal augured well for a good drama.
augural (adjective) (not comparative)
augurate (noun), augurates (pl)
The position of someone who is skilled in predicting the future.
auguration (s) (noun), augurations (pl)
The foretelling of events by signs or omens or signs of something about to happen.
augurist (s) (noun), augurists (pl)
augurize (verb), augurizes; augurized; augurizing
augurous (adjective), more augurous, most augurous
augury (s) (noun), auguries (pl)
A divination, or fortune telling, often based on the appearance and behavior of animals: An augury is a prophecy or a prediction that indicates the important things that will happen sometime in the future.
A sign or omen that indicates what will happen in the future.
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A prediction of something that will take place
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augurying (adjective), more augurying, most augurying
Relating to someone who goes around indicating what will happen later: As a psychologist, William had many augurying suggestions for his patients about what they can do to maintain their mental stability and well being.
exaugural (adjective), more exaugural, most exaugural
A speech or verbal ceremony presenting an end to one's activities: The retiring president of the computer company made the most exaugural message that the employees had ever heard.
exaugurate (verb), exaugurates; exaugurated; exaugurating
exauguration (s) (noun), exaugurations (pl)

Cross references of word families that are related directly, or indirectly, to: "divination, diviner; seer, soothsayer, prophecy, prophesy, prophet": auspic-; fa-, fate; Fates in action; futur-; -mancy; omen; -phemia; sorc-, sorcery; vati-.