pro·​pi·​tious prə-ˈpi-shəs How to pronounce propitious (audio)
: favorably disposed : benevolent
: being a good omen : auspicious
propitious sign
: tending to favor : advantageous
propitiously adverb
propitiousness noun

Did you know?

Propitious, which comes to us through Middle English from the Latin word propitius, is a synonym of favorable and auspicious. All three essentially mean "pointing toward a happy outcome," with some differences of emphasis. Favorable implies that someone or something involved in a situation is approving or helpful ("a favorable recommendation"), or that circumstances are advantageous ("favorable weather conditions"). Auspicious usually applies to a sign or omen that promises success before or at the start of an event ("an auspicious beginning"). Propitious may also apply to beginnings, but it often suggests a continuing promising condition ("propitious conditions for an alliance").

Choose the Right Synonym for propitious

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

Examples of propitious in a Sentence

Now is a propitious time to start a business. the success of the first big movie in May was a propitious start for the summer season of blockbusters
Recent Examples on the Web The Screenings come at a propitious time in many ways for Spanish cinema. John Hopewell, Variety, 3 Mar. 2024 Yet this seemingly propitious combination has locked the Federal Reserve into inaction. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2024 Just a few months later, however, the situation looks less propitious for Ukraine. Liana Fix, Foreign Affairs, 28 Nov. 2023 These are not propitious circumstances under which to rebuild an empire. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 8 May 2023 With large miners generating strong free cash flow, commodity prices down, and the world’s long-term push toward decarbonization still intact—as recent legislative action in the U.S. shows—now might be a propitious time to take a look at new copper or battery metal assets on the cheap. Megha Mandavia, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2022 But the timing of the higher rebate is propitious. Jon Healey, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2022 The way other people might recall a marvellous restaurant or a heartbreaking vista, Wagner remembers a propitious plant. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2023 Her timing proved propitious. Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 9 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'propitious.' 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 propycyous, from Anglo-French propicius, from Latin propitius, probably from pro- for + petere to seek — more at pro-, feather

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of propitious was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near propitious

Cite this Entry

“Propitious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


pro·​pi·​tious prə-ˈpish-əs How to pronounce propitious (audio)
: giving favorable signs of the success of something to come : promising
a propitious first interview
: likely to produce good results
a propitious undertaking

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