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Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:38 pm

• augur •

Pronunciation: aw-gêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To foresee, foretell, presage.

Notes: The family of today's Good Word includes an adjective, augural, and a noun augury "the process of foretelling the future". It serves without affix as the personal noun: an augur is someone who augurs. Be careful not to confuse this word with auger "a drill bit, a drill with a spiral shank and a cross handle": all but the initial vowel in today's word are U's.

In Play: People can augur: "A good student can augur from the expression on the teacher's face whether the class will be a good one." Events and actions can augur, too: "Replacing the chief financial officer doesn't augur well for the future of the company." Either way, there must be a sign or set of signs to augur from.

Word History: The original augurs were members of a Roman profession whose job it was to predict the future from the flights of birds. The first hypothesis is that since these men intended to increase productivity of the crops, the word is based on Latin augere "to increase" (related to English augment). But auguries were intended to predict, not control, the future, making this explanation unlikely. The alternative hypothesis assumes this word was originally associated with birds. This leads us to a compound consisting of av- "bird" (as in aviary) + gar-, the root of garrire "to talk". We find gar- in Latin garrulus "talkative" (English garrulous) and in Sanskrit gar- "to shout, call". Since the Romans wrote U as V, the replacement of V with U in this word is not surprising. (I augur that Rodger Collins, who suggested today's Good Word, will receive considerable gratitude for that gesture from all of us.)
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:10 am

I'm currently reading Nate Silver's book, The Signal and the Noise, exactly on this subject. Discussing different areas from baseball to economis, he explains how to get the real signal prediction from the encompassing static. He himself has quite a reputation for success.
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Postby MTC » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:36 am

These are the days when Birds come back --
A very few -- a Bird or two --
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies resume
The old -- old sophistries of June --
A blue and gold mistake.

Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee --
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief.

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear --
And softly thro' the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.

Oh Sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze --
Permit a child to join.

Thy sacred emblems to partake --
They consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!

These are the days when the birds come back, by Emily Dickinson
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Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:41 am

As I began reading MTC's poem, I thought he was parodying Emily Dickinson quite well. By verse three I knew he was quoting my favorite poet. MTC, you are a great poet in your own right. You also do a good job finding verses to fit a topic.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Postby MTC » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:30 am


If I could be only one tenth the poet Emily Dickinson is I would be a good poet. But thank you for your generous estimate of my modest talents. I will keep at it.

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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:18 pm

I had forgotten that poem
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby bamaboy56 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:44 pm

Beautiful poem from a great poet. Also a great word for seer or revelator. Thanks!
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I'm going to change myself. -- Rumi
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