aus·​pi·​cious | \ ȯ-ˈspi-shəs How to pronounce auspicious (audio) \

Definition of auspicious

1 : showing or suggesting that future success is likely : propitious made an auspicious beginning Such an auspicious start might have brought only honor and further triumph, but a witches' brew of scientific contentiousness, the temper of the times, and quirks in Dubois's own psyche soon derailed any pleasant development and turned Dubois's bounty into bitterness.— Stephen Jay Gould
2 : attended by good auspices : fortunate, prosperous an auspicious year … a festival that takes place during the hottest months of spring, just before the monsoon rains, and that is considered an auspicious time for weddings.— Cynthia Gorney In days of old, seers entered a trance state and then informed anxious seekers what kind of mood the gods were in, and whether this was an auspicious time to begin a journey, get married, or start a war.— Harvey Cox

Other Words from auspicious

auspiciously adverb
auspiciousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for auspicious

favorable, auspicious, propitious mean pointing toward a happy outcome. favorable implies that the persons involved are approving or helpful or that the circumstances are advantageous. favorable weather conditions auspicious applies to something taken as a sign or omen promising success before or at the start of an event. an auspicious beginning propitious may also apply to beginnings but often implies a continuing favorable condition. a propitious time for starting a business

The Origin of Auspicious Is for the Birds

Auspicious comes from Latin auspex, which literally means "bird seer" (from the words avis, meaning "bird," and specere, meaning "to look at"). In ancient Rome, these "bird seers" were priests, or augurs, who studied the flight and feeding patterns of birds, then delivered prophecies based on their observations. The right combination of bird behavior indicated favorable conditions, but the wrong patterns spelled trouble. The English noun auspice, which originally referred to this practice of observing birds to discover omens, also comes from Latin auspex. Today, the plural form auspices is often used with the meaning "kindly patronage and guidance."

Examples of auspicious in a Sentence

After his auspicious debut, Chambers became sought after by serious collectors of folk art; but given that the present show is now only the second he has had and is the first retrospective look at him, he is probably as obscure to the general museum going public today as he was in 1942. — Sanford Schwartz, New York Review of Books, 15 Jan. 2009 There is, first of all, Marconi himself, the 21-year-old prodigy who burst on London with his gizmo in 1896. This wasn't the most auspicious moment for a half-Irish, half-Italian unknown to announce that he had bested some of the empire's greatest scientific minds. — Kevin Baker, New York Times Book Review, 5 Nov. 2006 Indeed, it hardly seems like an auspicious time to introduce a brand of cigarettes, especially for tiny Star, which accounts for just over 1 percent of the U.S. market with its four brands of discount smokes. — David Noonan, Newsweek, 16 Oct. 2000 His acclaimed first novel was an auspicious debut. told him she couldn't dance with him just then, but her auspicious smile encouraged him to ask again later
Recent Examples on the Web Penn portrays a deeply human man — kind, auspicious, flawed — whose impact on the LGBTQIA+ community can't be understated, and serves as a reminder of the positive impact an everyday person can achieve. Sophie Van Bastelaer,, 22 Sep. 2022 Today, less than a decade since that auspicious introduction, the Octo Finissimo series, overseen by designer Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, has earned raves for its design and technical mastery as well as several world records for thinness. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 5 Sep. 2022 Many of the king’s attendants — including his ambitious Hand, Ser Otto Hightower — are super-hype to report that a pseudo-mythical white stag has been spotted in the forest, an auspicious omen for young Aegon. Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone, 4 Sep. 2022 This is an auspicious occasion for all the Wordle stoners out there who giggle whenever the number comes up. Erik Kain, Forbes, 13 Aug. 2022 There’s no formal plan, no scheduled activity, no reason to think that the hours will unfurl in any auspicious way. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 5 Aug. 2022 The circumstances weren’t the most auspicious, but business beat expectations, Russell Perkins said. al, 11 Feb. 2022 Brooklynn Prince, who was only six years old when the film was shot, makes an auspicious debut as precocious resident Moonee. Katie Rife,, 18 Aug. 2022 But there’s something a bit auspicious about the pigeons’ dopey yet open stares and their purplish-green feathery façades that will ultimately translate into the beauty, the transcendence. Antonin Niclass, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of auspicious

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for auspicious

see auspice

Learn More About auspicious

Time Traveler for auspicious

Time Traveler

The first known use of auspicious was in 1593

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About auspicious

Dictionary Entries Near auspicious



auspicium melioris aevi

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for auspicious

Last Updated

28 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Auspicious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for auspicious


aus·​pi·​cious | \ ȯ-ˈspi-shəs How to pronounce auspicious (audio) \

Kids Definition of auspicious

: promising success an auspicious beginning

Other Words from auspicious

auspiciously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on auspicious

Nglish: Translation of auspicious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of auspicious for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!