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Auspex

Definition: One who interprets omens by observing birds .

Pronunciation: os-peks

Synonyms: Soothsayer, clairvoyant, diviner, prognosticator, augur.

Origin:

The noun auspex derives from the Latin avis meaning bird and specere meaning to look at something.

Why this word?

We predict. But what do we predict? We predict rain by observing dark and heavy clouds, we predict the change of seasons according to the changes seen in flowers or fruits and we predict the climax to a rather lousy movie. So we don’t really predict- we take what is given to us and reach the asked-for conclusion.

An auspex is one who does something beyond that. He is the master of deciphering pareidolia, mainly those formed by birds.

Birds shifting from one direction to another are enough for the auspex to state “winter is coming” weeks before the weather gets the chance to get slightly colder. An auspex makes science from all different bird species, the direction of their flight, their speed and their location. In yore, it was the Auspex’s duty to take night position on a hill, after a prayer he would ask the gods for a sign and wait for an answer, usually in the shape of birds.

The funny thing is that in old times, we didn’t know enough to explain what we know. We interpreted auspex’s predictions as actual predictions, but now we do know. We know which birds travel south when the north gets too cold or which birds travel north when the seeds in the south dried up and are no longer edible. Using these facts, seeing certain birds in certain areas tells us about the upcoming weather.  Any ornithologist can be referred to as an Auspex nowadays.

Unless, his predictions vary from weather matters. Then the person is a true auspex.

How to use the word Auspex in sentence?

“There was a person at the village we stayed at, claimed by the locals to be an auspex. They told amazing storied of his predictions of life and death, just by watching the birds in the sky”.

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Written by Akshay Dashore

Akshay is a Civil engineer who, for his love of words, preferred words over engineering. He is an avid reader and a prolific writer.

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