au·​gur | \ ˈȯ-gər How to pronounce augur (audio) \

Definition of augur

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an official diviner of ancient Rome
2 : one held to foretell events by omens


augured; auguring; augurs

Definition of augur (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to foretell especially from omens
2 : to give promise of : presage This bad news augurs disaster for all of us.

intransitive verb

: to predict the future especially from omens

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Did You Know?


Auguring is what augurs did in ancient Rome. These were official diviners whose function it was, not to foretell the future, but to divine whether the gods approved of a proposed undertaking, such as a military move. They did so by various means, among them observing the behavior of birds and examining the entrails of sacrificed animals. Nowadays, the foretell sense of the verb is often used with an adverb, such as well, as in our example sentence. Augur comes from Latin and is related to the Latin verb augēre, meaning "to increase."

Examples of augur in a Sentence

Noun ancient Roman augurs who predicted the future by reading the flight of birds Verb The decision doesn't augur well. the extended interview augurs well for your acceptance into that law school
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An early augur of this shift was the rise of the Tea Party in the 2010 election cycle, which managed to harness the rhetoric of anti-government austerity to a resurgent politics of white identity on the right. John A. Farrell, The New Republic, "TNR Newsletters. Must reads. 5 days a week.," 16 Apr. 2020 While our official quarantining lasted only twenty-four hours, the experience proved an augur of things to come. Sylvia Poggioli, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 23–29," 29 Mar. 2020 The Sun Devils ended 2019 at 8-5 after their defeat of Florida State in the Sun Bowl, and that victory could be an augur of good things to come next season. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Arizona State football shows up in early college football Top 25 rankings for 2020 season," 14 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That could augur well for the governor's hopes of having Maloney's order overturned on appeal. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Appeals court says Michigan gyms must remain closed, just hours before they were to reopen," 25 June 2020 But the Super Tuesday results do not augur well for Mr. Sanders’s odds of pulling it off. Nate Cohn, New York Times, "Biden’s Delegate Lead Is Small, but Could Be Hard to Overcome," 4 Mar. 2020 Rather than auguring the snapback in growth once touted by officials, those tentative steps look likely to herald a tough slog -- particularly as long as the pandemic remains a threat to public health. Jeannette Neumann,, "More Slog Than Snapback Is Outlook for Europe’s Virus Recovery," 10 May 2020 The prime minister is now shifting attention to his domestic agenda, which augurs an end to the era of austerity, with heavy spending on popular programs like health care, education, and law and order., "At the time, Johnson’s Conservative Party had no majority in Parliament and was essentially powerless to push any contentious legislation. The queen’s speech essentially amounted to a political pitch by Johnson to voters before a general election.," 20 Dec. 2019 Sanders’s populist message clearly resonated with white working-class Democrats in Michigan—and, in retrospect, Clinton’s weakness in this demographic augured badly for the general election. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Joe Biden Is Giving the Trump White House Reasons to Be Worried," 12 Mar. 2020 That could augur an ugly week for those holding the world’s wealth. New York Times, "Wall Street Plunges in Worst Drop Since 2008," 10 Mar. 2020 The history of past pandemics augurs badly for the travel industry Graphic detail STOCKMARKETS IN China fell by nearly 8% on February 3rd—the largest single-day fall since 2015—as fears about the economic impact of the Wuhan coronavirus increased. The Economist, "Daily chart Airlines will be hit hard by coronavirus," 3 Feb. 2020 In the nineties, there was a brief turn from this project, as celebrants of globalization hailed a borderless world augured by, for example, the European Union’s opening of internal frontiers. Joshua Jelly-schapiro, The New Yorker, "What Are Borders For?," 27 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'augur.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of augur


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1593, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for augur

Noun and Verb

Latin; akin to Latin augēre — see augment entry 1

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Time Traveler for augur

Time Traveler

The first known use of augur was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Augur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of augur

formal : to show or suggest something that might happen in the future

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More from Merriam-Webster on augur

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for augur

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with augur

Spanish Central: Translation of augur

Nglish: Translation of augur for Spanish Speakers

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