Etymology of Auspicious

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  • Topic: Omen, The Shadow, Being
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  • Published : April 8, 2013
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Etymology of Auspicious
“And fortune play upon thy prosperous helme As thy auspicious mistris.”(OED 792) Auspicious is a word that means ominous, favorable, and favored by fortune. The word auspicious originated in the fourteenth century and its original definition was the observation of birds for the purpose of obtaining omens. At first auspicious was previously just defined as omens, and omens used to be regarded as negative. Eventually the word transformed to mean favorable omens, and then the word was just defined as favorable. (OED792) The word usually has, for the most part a positive connotation. Many people use this word to wish others well and success on endeavors. Many writers use auspicious in different ways, by implying different meanings. In 1879, Rossetti used the definition ominous when she used auspicious in “Seek and Find,” saying “The aspect of jubilant auspicious angels.” This implies that the angels are of good omen and that the angels are probably bringing good fate to someone. This is in line with the general idea, with angels bringing good news, hope, and other positive ideas associated with these heavenly beings. In 1804, Gurwood used the definition prosperous in “The Dispatches of the Duke of Wellington,” saying “We ... have reposed for five auspicious years under the shadow of your protection.” This implies that the people have prospered under the protection of the Duke of Wellington, which suggests the greatness of the Duke in his people’s eyes, and the effectiveness of his rule. (OED 792)

The intriguing word auspicious has been adapted by many poets to fit their needs but one of the most interesting ways it has been used is by Tanathica in their poem The Night is Auspicious.” The night is auspicious./ No trace of the usual spectres,/ The shadows dance vicious;/ Rising from rich black nectars…/ I‘ve murdered so many/ But only by night can my sins be undone.
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