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au·​gur ˈȯ-gər How to pronounce augur (audio)
: an official diviner of ancient Rome
: one held to foretell events by omens


2 of 2


augured; auguring; augurs

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to predict the future especially from omens

Did you know?

In ancient Rome, augurs were official diviners whose function it was 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. We doubt the Romans predicted that augur would eventuate into a verb meaning “presage or foretell,” but in retrospect, augur’s path must have been in the stars.

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
Recent Examples on the Web
The closest Hunter has to a forerunner may be turn-of-the-millennium Robert Downey, Jr.: a painfully public avatar of squandered privilege, a darkly hilarious rogue casting off sparks of pathos and augurs of doom, America’s favorite dirtbag. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2023 For much of the world, and especially in many countries in Asia, these hot months are a grim augur of things to come. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 9 May 2023 Success for the both the Lamb of God and the Bear of Blow augur well for films not based on existing IP — even if both movies are technically (very technically) based on true events. Vulture, 26 Feb. 2023 Although the outcome of the election will be an important measure of popular support for both parties, it cannot necessarily be read as an augur for the next presidential and parliamentary races in 2024. Reuters, CNN, 25 Nov. 2022 The UK Met Office, which monitors the weather, suggests that the record heat was an augur of things to come, which means data centers need to prepare for a new normal. Wired, 3 Aug. 2022 ByteDance’s growth in emerging markets could be an augur of what’s to come. Chris Stokel-Walker, Wired, 22 Nov. 2021 The mission of the Dylanologist is to serve as codebreaker, or some augur of the divine. John Semley, The New Republic, 26 May 2021 Phuket’s largest mosque is in Bang Tao, and this year the first day of Ramadan coincided with the beginning of the Thai New Year festivities, an auspicious augur after a year of economic hardship. New York Times, 25 Apr. 2021
Spring is almost upon us, auguring a return to all things al fresco. Carolina Dalia Gonzalez, Vogue, 4 Mar. 2024 Without such an excess of unfilled jobs, for example, a further decline in openings may really augur an increase in unemployment. Ben Casselman, New York Times, 14 Feb. 2024 Arriving for a fashion magazine job interview, Betty’s bushy brows, braces and less-than-runway-ready style did not augur well. Lesley O’Toole, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Altman became a globe-trotting AI evangelist, using his pulpit to both inspire and terrify with his predictions about what the technology augurs for elections, art, education, economies and society. Annie Massa, Fortune, 1 Mar. 2024 In East Asia, for example, the shape of noodles represents a long life, while greens augur a prosperous year. Christopher Kimball, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Jan. 2024 In their meddling hands, flickering lights and chilly drafts augur visits from the unknown. Stephen Kearse, The Atlantic, 26 Jan. 2024 Perhaps word spread, became a belief system that outsiders augur doom. Jordan Castro, Harper's Magazine, 5 Jan. 2024 Mark Kelly The decision by four Colorado judges to bar Donald Trump from the state presidential ballot is an ugly turn that augurs nothing but trouble for American law and democracy. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 20 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'augur.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English augurre, augure, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French augure, borrowed from Latin augur, perhaps going back to *aug-u-s "the increased, one who receives the signs of increase," noun derivative of an s-stem adjective *aug-u-s "increased, grown," derivative of a u-stem adjective *aug-u- with the same sense, derivative from the base of augeō, augēre "to increase, make greater, heighten" — more at eke entry 2

Note: Though a connection has long been sought between the noun augur and the verb augēre, as well as with the adjective augustus "solemn, venerable" (see august), the semantic and morphological details are elusive. The above etymology was proposed by Michael Weiss in "Observations of the Prehistory of Latin augur," Alessandria 5 (2011), Atti del Convegno Internazionale … in memoriam Helmut Rix, pp. 365-79. As a morphological point of comparison for the derivation of augur, Weiss points to Latin vetus, veteris "old, veteran," which, if derived from an original u-stem adjective *u̯etu-, could be plausibly linked to Lithuanian vẽtušas and Old Church Slavic vetŭxŭ, both meaning "old."


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French augurer, borrowed from Latin augurāre, augurārī "to foretell by augury, take auspices, prophesy, predict," derivative of augur augur entry 1

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1593, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near augur

Cite this Entry

“Augur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
au·​gur ˈȯ-gər How to pronounce augur (audio)
: a person (as in ancient Rome) who foretells the future by omens


2 of 2 verb
: to predict from signs or omens
: to give promise of
this augurs well for the future

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