Trending: auspice

Lookups spiked 8,000% on June 11, 2019

Why are people looking up auspice?

Auspice was among our top lookups on June 11th, 2019, after President Trump used the word while addressing the press.

What does auspice mean?

We define auspice in several different ways. The earliest recorded meaning of auspice is “observation by an augur especially of the flight and feeding of birds to discover omens” and we are quite certain that this was not the meaning intended by Trump. Auspice may also mean “a prophetic sign” and we are fairly sure this sense is not the intended meaning. The word may also mean “kindly patronage and guidance,” and since this sense has a degree of semantic overlap with words such as leadership and aegis, it may be assumed that this was the sense intended by Trump.

Where does auspice come from?

Auspice may be traced to the Latin auspex (“diviner by birds”), which is from avis (“bird”) and specere (“to look, look at”). It shares the latter portion with a number of other words in English, including haruspex (“a diviner in ancient Rome basing his predictions on inspection of the entrails of sacrificial animals”).


The variablenesse of these events (mee thinks) should move thee to condescend unto the peace I plead for, yea, as willingly and effectually as I crave it, if you doe but ponder in the ballance of an impartiall and not preoccupied minde, what diversity of chances have fallen out since the beginning of our warres, and how, even now, this same Citie, which offereth conditions of peace, had both your glorious Rome, and in it all Italy, quaking and trembling under the auspices of my fortunate successes.
— David Person, Varieties, 1635

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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