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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web Four of Concordia’s nonfiction films will be among the 16 shown as part of Sundance’s U.S. Documentary Competition, an auspicious start for a newcomer to the country’s pre-eminent festival for independent cinema. Nicole Sperling, New York Times, "A New Player at Sundance, Backed by Laurene Powell Jobs," 20 Jan. 2020 Monday night’s showcase got its auspicious start with Capaldi, a Scottish troubadour in the mode of Ed Sheeran, only with a firmer voice and more self-lacerating stage banter. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Jingle Ball is still a corporate pop holiday party. But it’s still magic, too.," 17 Dec. 2019 The timing is especially auspicious for Microsoft, which also stopped supporting Windows 7 this week, meaning an operating system used by millions of people isn't getting any more security patches. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Security News This Week: FBI Takes Down Site With 12 Billion Stolen Records," 18 Jan. 2020 The numbers 2 and 3 are supposed to be auspicious for Year of the Rat people, but 5 and 9 should be avoided. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, "Lunar New Year 2020 events around Phoenix: 8 ways to celebrate the Year of the Rat," 17 Jan. 2020 After its auspicious debut in the 2009 Euros, for example, the Netherlands failed to win a game in the same tournament four years later. Kevin Baxter,, "Netherlands looks to add Women’s World Cup title to European championship," 4 July 2019 For Indians, seeing a swastika is an auspicious blessing for good health. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Can the swastika ever reclaim its original meaning?," 24 Dec. 2019 Yet these auspicious elements often seem to exist in a lumbering, sleepwalking state, as if waiting to be stimulated into the ideal selves that lurk within. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "‘Sing Street’ Review: New Wave Music as Sweet Deliverance," 16 Dec. 2019 As soon as the gong was banged to launch trading, the shares soared from HK$176 to the auspicious price of HK$188. The Economist, "One company, two systems," 28 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of auspicious

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for auspicious

see auspice

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The first known use of auspicious was in 1593

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Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Auspicious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for auspicious


How to pronounce auspicious (audio)

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

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