2001-06-23

auspex

HINT: It is not a nickname for Gargoyles Sunglasses.

A word from Roman Antiquity.
[Excerpt from the Oxford English Dictionary, Copyright 1999 ]
One who observed the flight of birds, to take omens thence for the guidance of affairs; hence, a director, protector; and esp. the person who superintended marriage ceremonies.

The action or function of the auspex was called auspice (which we use in the phrase under the auspices of.

The word augury means much the same thing, and is the root of inaugurate. So, the modern meaning of inaugurate (To admit or induct to an office or dignity by a formal ceremony; to consecrate, install, invest. Also with complement.) has evolved from the original meaning associated with pagan divination practices.

More information at Dictionary.com.

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