Merriam Webster Word of the Day: Augur

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The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is augur. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

To augur is to show or suggest, especially from omens, that something might happen in the future. Used most often in formal speech or writing, augur is often followed by an adverb (such as well).

// The downturn augurs badly for the success of the business.

// This bad news could augur disaster for all of us.

AUGUR in Context

“This year, MLS has increased the pipeline that is in place for women to be leaders at the team level. This is exemplified by the number of groundbreaking hires that have occurred. … The addition of these women in their team front offices augurs well for the future.” — Richard Lapchick, ESPN.com, 9 Nov. 2021

Did You Know?

In ancient Rome, augurs were official diviners whose function it was to divine whether the gods approved of a proposed undertaking, such as a military move. They did so by various means, among them observing the behavior of birds and examining the entrails of sacrificed animals. We doubt the Romans predicted that augur would eventuate into a verb meaning “presage or foretell,” but in retrospect, augur’s path must have been in the stars.

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