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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The timing is auspicious for the travel and tourism industry, which is poised to thrive as the world economy reopens. Emily Mason, Forbes, 16 June 2021 The first is the title, where the numbers 1 and 3 together make 13 — an auspicious number in the Swiftieverse. Natalie Morin,, 21 May 2021 As a carving apprentice at aged 16, opaque stones such as malachite, jade and coral were his materials, and auspicious Chinese motifs were his inspiration. Anthony Demarco, Forbes, 19 May 2021 The daughter of a horticulturist and physician, Ruysch’s career was boosted, in an auspicious turn for capitalist feminism, by consumer demand for floral specimens rendered in oil paint. Jessi Jezewska Stevens, The New Yorker, 8 May 2021 Because in the moment, on March 14, nothing felt auspicious about a 20-point loss, coming off their uneven play leading into the NBA’s All-Star break. Houston Mitchell Assistant Sports Editor, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 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 The monthslong festival, which takes place approximately every 12 years, is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals. NBC News, 19 Apr. 2021 And many more are expected throughout the day, as Monday is considered a particularly auspicious day to dip into the sacred waters. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 12 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of auspicious

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for auspicious

see auspice

Keep scrolling for more

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

30 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Auspicious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for auspicious



English Language Learners Definition of auspicious

formal : showing or suggesting that future success is likely


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

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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